updated 10/26/2004 1:32:30 PM ET 2004-10-26T17:32:30

Turkey vultures have taken over a woman’s backyard, making a mess of the lawn, shrubbery, patio furniture and roof.

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About 50 of the birds, which can grow to be 32 inches tall with a 6-foot wingspan, have taken up residence in the backyard.

An Indiana Department of Natural Resources ecologist says he can’t explain why the birds chose an urban area. Their previous roost may have been destroyed by development.

Since the birds are federally protected, they can’t be trapped. An animal control expert has been shooting off fireworks to scare the birds away, but many keep coming back.

Most of them should soon be flying south for the winter.

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