Pesky Black BuzzardsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas
Pesky Black Buzzards
28 February 2008 at 9:53:00 AM
I went to a predator class a couple of years ago and learned that the black buzzard, also known as a vulture, will go after animals that are alive and kill it, unlike some vultures that at least wait until the animals are roadkill. I ALWAYS see them wheeling around in the sky-one day I walked out and one was perched on top of an electric pole looking down into the chicken yard. Other times I\'ll drive down the road and see a whole bunch of them lurking in a dead tree.
“They are about the most aggressive bird I know of and one of the most destructive — the turkey buzzard is generally pretty innocuous, but the black buzzard is pretty aggressive. They’re the ones that will get you out on the desert before you’re dead and they’ll kill. We get lots of complaints from ranchers and farmers, game ranch and wild hunting concession owners. Black vultures killing newborn calves or livestock when they’re down. In certain areas, they’re worse than coyotes about killing livestock.”
The residents of Eagle Mountain Lake got fed up with black buzzards roosting and defecating all over their roofs — more genteelly known as “whitewashing.” Eventually, they began terrorizing residents by going into their boat houses and ripping upholstery out of open boats. They’ll do the same thing to open convertibles, Loven said. But that’s not the worst of it.
“In Dallas-Fort Worth, buzzards on buildings will light and start pulling rubber insulation from the windows. One attacked a lady in Dallas when she came out on her balcony,” he said.
“They’re very destructive, very aggressive – and they’re also protected,” Loven said.
Updating this in 2016. This has been one of the most popular posts on the site. People from all over the place have problems with pesky buzzards. I do have to say I have never once seen a buzzard attack a live animal. Doesn't mean it might not happen but I have not seen it. This summer has been so hot that I've had buzzards hanging out in the yard under shade trees, with geese nearby eating.
1 - JOYCE
16 Apr 2009 @ 3:39:15 PM
DO BLACK BUZZARD OR VULTURES HANG TOGETHER IN GROUPS OF 5 OR 6? THE OTHER DAY I SAW THESE GIGANTIC BIRDS, THEIR BACK TO ME, AS I DROVE DOWN A COUNTRY ROAD, THEY WERE PERCHED ON A BARN OVERLOOKING A PASTURE. THEY WERE EXTREMLY TALL, I'VE NEVER SEEN A BIRD IN MY AREA TO BE SO LARGE. A FRIEND TOLD ME THEY MUST HAVE BEEN BUZZARDS.
Yes. Around where I live they all hang out in dead trees on bare limbs, a bunch of them. When they find something they want to feast on, they start wheeling around in the sky and circling their prey. Other buzzards see them and join. When something dies on the road, a bunch of them will be over having dinner and then fly out of the way. I can't say what is a big bird because I won't get close enough to measure them (heh) but the ones I see are probably a couple of feet tall.
We have two species of 'buzzards' here in our area: the turkey vulture and the black vulture. The turkey vulture is larger and soars with its wings, which has pale flight feathers, in a slight dihedral formation. The adults have small, red heads. The black vulture is smaller with a shorter tail and has silvery bands toward the wing tips. Its head is black.
These magnificent birds are the vacuum cleaners of the environment as they scavenge dead animals. In 35 years of observing them, I have never witnessed anything that could be described as 'destructive' behavior as mentioned above.
They catch the warm air updrafts and soar in circles, beautifully. They are some of my favorite birds, especially the turkey vulture.
“I try to find some kind of road kill, raccoons and opossums,” Silvers said. “I make a trap out of cattle panels. They walk in there, they trip the gate and they can’t get out.”
Silvers then shotguns the vultures and buries them. He said the vultures “smell just like dead animals.”
I have an uncle that made a trap like that, except to catch feral hogs. It's like a havahart trap except, of course, much larger.
Izard said that one rancher frustrated with black vultures killing calves took a proactive measure. He built a large, buzzard-proof cage and uses it for a birthing unit.
I suggest also that you call your county extension agent, as he or she will be very familar or can get you the help you need, to deal with predators. I went to a predator training conference a few years back and they talked about all the different ways to catch predators. Of course, they said you can't get black buzzards because they're federally protected. On another level, the question I would have is "Why are these birds protected?" and find out what you need to do or who to contact to get the law changed.
I'm sorry, Norma, but i find your story about the buzzards eating baby birds and cats very hard to believe. I've lived around buzzards for decades and have never witnessed any such thing. There are numerous buzzards here and my cat has never been threatened by them. The baby birds here are often taken by snakes but there's no evidence of buzzard attacks. Have you witnessed this?
Article reprinted from March 2005 Turkey Vulture Society Newsletter:
FINALLY: A humane solution to problem vulture roosts!
Although most of us enjoy the presence of our peaceful vulture neighbors, it is not uncommon to find them roosting in places where they are less welcome.
The removal of natural habitat to make way for development has not negatively impacted turkey or black vulture populations. (In fact, with the expansion of roadways, these birds seem to have increased in number.) Where roosting trees are removed, vultures find that they are quickly replaced with rooftops and cell-towers: equally suitable
A moderate sized vulture roost can generate large amounts of "whitewash," and, in some cases, vomit. We will not deny that these are valid concerns for the average homeowner. Throughout the years, residents and businesses have tried various methods of discouraging vultures from roosting on and around their buildings.
Scarecrows have proved ineffective, and noise deterrents bother the residents nearly as much as the birds. Firecrackers, water hoses, and all other methods tried thus far provide only a temporary solution.
The only seemingly "successful" mitigation measure has been the physical extermination of the vulture populations. In addition to being illegal in most states, this is simply a poor ecological practice.
A Turkey Vulture Society member who has been researching this problem for several years reports that he has finally discovered a successful solution to urban roosts.
Steve Kohl reports that a motion-activated sprinkler system seems to be very successful in deterring vultures from rooftop roosting.
This product, marketed as a deterrent for yard-invading animals, can be mounted on a rooftop with a simple bracket system. As Kohl reports, "if you can seal the connections properly, leakage doesn't occur."
One company that markets this product is Contech. They call the product "Scarecrow." As soon as Kohlmoos installed his "Scarecrow," his vultures disappeared. At last report, he had not seen them for 6 weeks.
You can visit Contech on the web at http://www.biconet.com/critter/sprinkler.html
~The Turkey Vulture Society
You can locate great information and contacts for help at:
Well, a world without turkey vultures, for me at least, would be far less rich. These are magnificent creatures and I cherish their daily presence in my life. When a specie's presence becomes obnoxious, it's usually because the humans have fractured the environment so seriously that these animals have to resort to abnormal patterns just to survive. Get it? A complimentary relationship is the ideal, is it not? Also, Salon, Vultures are not predators.
hb, that's easy for you to say when you are not in direct assault by these creatures. If you ever have had a cluster of vultures determine to use your roof as their roost you would know better.
Yes, they are wonderful creatures when they are in nature and doing their thing; however, when they infringe on a human home it can become a critical issue quickly. Then it doesn't matter what the reason is for the assault. It needs to be dealt with quickly and as humanely as possible.
Fortunately, I have never had to live somewhere where an 'out of control' population of vultures resides. I hope I never do. But frankly, development being what it is, the long range prospects for this are somewhat dim. Anyway, thank you, pstern, for your informative link above.
ps: again, I say, it is the humans who are not 'in nature', not the creatures.
I am not in argument that humans continue to infringe upon the natural order of things; however, that does not alter the situation for this person.
I have lived on 10 acres here since 1998. We were one of the first homes built out here. Over the years there have been many and various creatures that have roamed on my land ranging from herds of 20 head of deer and a roadrunner in 1998 down in count to 2 or 3 deer now (most have been hit by vehicles since more development here), to skunks, armadillos, possum, racoons, rabbits and currently a sly, small fox. These are some of the "hazzards" of living in the wild and you just have to deal with it all as best as you can. We have a pact with swallows who have built 10 mud nests in the eaves of our porch deck. We let them live there and they in turn eat the mosquitos and bugs on our property. Periodically I must scrape off the poop from the deck, but it is well worth the partnership! LOL
Vultures are quite another story. At times we have them flying overhead searching for dead creatures and only once were they on our land when a small deer was found dead at the foot of our property. When the carcass was eaten completely by the vultures they left, fortunately, and never returned. They are huge, powerful and amazing creatures.
Sometimes it's not that simplistic. Because they can cause some other problems if having a feeding frenzy too close to a human home. Naturally, there is the stench of kill and of eating ripping apart the kill, along with the danger of attracting other creatures who also hope to feed there. Once where i lived in New Mexico such a feeding frenzy attracted a female Puma, a.k.a, Mountain Lion, a.k.a., Cougar. It can get quite dangerous in a short time. Humans need to be careful around vultures feeding for many reasons.
Well, pstern, just imagine the stench if there were no vultures. I've seen them consume an adult doe in about two days. And a possum, coon or fox disappears in a few hours. Don't worry. At the rate we humans are populating the earth, pretty soon we will have killed all the animals and then the vultures will starve to death. Until then, guess we'll just have to adjust to the 'unpleasant' sounds of bones and flesh crunching. Welcome to the country, everybody! This is real life, not some sanitized idea of it.
I am NOT arguing with you, HB, re: the worth of Vultures. I think they are pretty amazing creatures and they have my gratitude for what they do. I have only been offering viable and humane options to people who are having what they feel are problems with vultures being so close to their homes..
I also agree with you re: the infringement of humans on nature and the few pristine acres left in the wilds. It is a real problem and I also fear that one day the only living creatures we will be able to see are in zoos and aquariums and such.
I know you're not arguing, pstern. I'm just trying to emphasize the radical idea that the world is not all about us. In my 35 years in the country I have never heard anyone complain about the buzzards. If a person decides to leave the urban environment and move to the wilder places, then one must take on the responsibility of learning how it works and what place each creature has within that environment and hopefully upset it as little as possible. Don't want to be around buzzards? Go back to the city. This overwhelming need to control and to make everything conform to our tiny idea of what it should be is nowhere. Not only is it boring, it's destructive... destruction born out of ignorance and fear of the unknown and that which cannot be controlled. This idea that we can control our environment is an illusion. We all suffer from it, some more than others. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.
I live in Canyon Lake Texas and below our house is a gourge where a mother black vulture raises her young. She was here last year and this year she has raised two babies. I never gave much thought to buzzards with the exception of their role in nature which is certainly welcomed. But having a first hand experience of watching these birds I have come to respect them as much as the other birds my feeders attract. For one thing they are so much fun to watch as youngsters and another she is an excellent mother always close by and watching out for her babies. When the babies first come out to sit on the ledge of the small cave where they were hatched they were so ugly with their yellow down and they were and still are very awkard. Their progression towards adulthood is slow so there is plenty of time to observe them. The mother has now brought them to the bird baths for water and watching them try to jump or fly to perch and get a drink is so funny because of their awkardness. After getting a drink they walk back down to their nest. They are now trying to fly and they certainly take their bumps and missed perching in trees.
Do I want a whole herd of these birds in my yard? No not really but neither do I want a whole herd of deer which is a heck of lot more destructive than these buzzards and deer carry ticks and other sickness. And now that South Texas is in a serious drought the deer are and will become more a pest and more destructive.
But in respect of the black buzzard I find this opprotunity to observe this mama and her babies a real treat and I hope she continues to raise her young below our hill.
The buzzards that have a black or gray head instead of the red head are the problem ones. I'm sure they all buzzards clean up the road kill or whatever happens to be dead and lying around. The black headed ones though will without question kill a newborn calf or goat. They swoop in and like a pack of wolves will keep the mama distracted while the feeding frenzy is taking place. By the time the mama gets back to her calf it is too late...the eyes have been plucked from the calf and the calf is dead. Buzzards serve a purpose but if I see them flying around at calving...they had better be flying fast.
I live in Olney, TX and had a number of incidents last week. On Sunday, we saw 5 or 6 very large, very black birds take flight across the road about 1000 feet from our driveway. Later I was missing 2 of my 14 week old kittens. Then on Tuesday, there was one in the middle of the road eating away at something (maybe 2000 feet down the road) and I was missing another of my kittens. When I checked the remains in the road, it WAS my kitten which I had fed that morning - which makes me think that this bird may eat live animals, not just carion. That made me think back to my other two missing kitties and the birds eating somethink not far from the house. On Friday, my very savvy, feisty mama kitty (who had 8 4 wk old kittens) vanished. A friend saw about a dozen of them circling across from her home (about a mile away). After searching through Google, I spotted your article, and think this week's losses of 4 of my kitties might be from these particular black buzzards. What do you think of my conclusions?
Judi, I'm very skeptical that the buzzards killed your kitties. I've never observed anything remotely like that kind of behavior in 40 years of watching them. A lot of things could have killed your kitties, even a male cat (who wouldn't be interested in eating them).
I apologize, Jim. Guess I just never witnessed problem buzzards or heard of any real problems with them. Any wild creature in abnormal numbers certainly can be troublesome to us humans and I imagine this will increase as we continue to take over more and more of their habitats. I think it is we, the humans, who are too many in one place. I love buzzards and would hate to have to live in a world without them. But then, that's just my point of view.
One more thing, Jim. I still have not found any credible evidence on the internet that buzzards kill other animals. (Caution: on sites from Europe, buzzard is a term applied not only to vultures but to raptors, who definitely do kill other animals.) Has anyone posting on this ever witnessed this behavior from a turkey or black vulture?
I wandered across an old roost at a cell tower. The buzzards stopped using it as a roost after one of them was killed or died and was laying wings outspread on the ground below. It seemed to me as if they see one of their own on the ground dead below the roost they find somewhere else to go. At least until the corpse has deteriorated to the point of just being bones. I'm curious if my hypothesis is correct. Has anyone else seen this behavior from them?
Turkey vultures (red headed ones) eat dead animals. The solid black ones KILL calves. Of the first 5 calves born, 3 were killed by these buzzards near where I live in Kentucky! I read up on it, by typing in "buzzards killing calves" and got the lowdown on that. In Texas, they work in teams. Two or three distract the mother cow and when she tries to repeatedly chase them away, a flock descend upon the calf. First they peck out it's eyes and then they kill it and feast on it. Seriously, this is scarry. If they are this aggressive with young calves, could they be a threat to young children?
I had heard about a farmer near where I live in Kentucky having three of the first five calves born this spring being killed by the black buzzards. (NOT the red headed ones). I looked it up by typing in, "buzzards killing calves", and found that in Texas this is becomming common. Their approach is to have two or three circle the mother calf and distract her into chasing them, and at that point, a FLOCK of buzzards descend upon the calf and begin by pecking out it's eyes. Then, I suppose the brain is next and the calf is killed and then eaten. I wonder if NEXT they will begin attacking children?
I have MANY HUGE birds that perch on the gigantic electric beams located in the woods near my home. But we have lots of buzzards/vultures in this area. I had 5 cats and they all had their own "spot". My favorite cat's spot was on the roof of my house. It was her spot for years. She disappeared one day. I am still waiting for her to come home, it's been 2 months. Another cat, Necy, took the vacant roof spot...now Necy is GONE! Disappeared! I am convinced that one of these big birds is killing my cats, they are easy targets sleeping on the roof of my house.
I had 12 black vultures on my roof this morning and 24 on a dead tree in the area where my alpacas and goats are. I've had up to 60-75 at one time. I usually have 3-4 hovering around but the last two weeks, they are everywhere. Trying to figure out what is happening. Someone told me that they may sense that my sheep are ready to have babies. Then yesterday we found several inside our main barn so thought maybe they were sensing that one of my old thin donkeys is dying. Then I read online that they will attack young calves. I do have a 4-5 week old calf in that barn, but she's so feisty that I hope she won't lie still waiting for them to peck her eyes. any other ideas why so many have congregated on our property? Most are around our potbelly pigs. Never see them trying to eat anything, but occasionally drink their water or splash in the water.
@whatknott-Yesterday I was out in the yard by some woods and heard a buzzard screeching and wheeling in the sky. My guinea birds were cacking up a storm so I walked over to chase off the buzzard and see why they were making so much hoise. I saw a fox a little bit away walking back into the woods. Now, I don't know if there was a dead something that the buzzards hoped to feed on and the fox beat them to it or it was something else but the buzzard, which seemed, again, to be broadcasting its location, left after that. A congregation of buzzards roost on a dead tree on the neighbor's property in the woods across the street. I think they choose that location because it's easy to roost on the branches and they can see a far distance. And we have a pond on the yard and I've seen buzzards hanging out with the other birds drinking. Some buzzards have tried to hang out in various places in the yard and I chase them off. YOu might consider getting rid of that dead tree if that's their convenient hangout.
What you thought was a buzzard screeching and wheeling was probably a hawk (buzzards don't screech and wheel). Buzzards are gregarious and change their roosting patterns for reasons only they know. I'd bet that the afterbirth is really what they might be interested in when stock animals give birth. Again, buzzards are carrion eaters, not predators.
Last Friday I declared "war" on the vultures! We were around all day and so were the vultures!! They were everywhere, but when I looked down and saw my oldest donkey laying down in the pasture and the vultures were sitting on her, that was the last straw!! i called several organizations and didn't get anywhere. But someone told me that you can scare them off by banging pots and pans. Well, instead I took my metal "pooper scooper" and started banging it and they started leaving, so i kept banging until they all circled and left!! i was ecsatatic. They came back the next morning; banged again. So every time I see them, I go out and bang and they disappear and are getting fewer in number and only appearing once a day. So I'm slowly winning the battle.
I had to go to my vet the other day and asked him about them and he has treated them as he works with wildlife, but didn't know how to deter them. he did some calling around. And the wildlife organization was having the same problem, but couldn't "bang" anything because it also scared their wildlife that they had. So they use a super soaker to squirt them and they said it's working too.
my screaming and waving of the arms didn't work any more. I was trying to think of some windchimes - but I don't know of any that are as loud as my pooper scooper!! Maybe a rock band could practice nearby!!LOL!
I love buzzards too until they decided to overtake my farm. When they started going inside the barn, that was a little intimadating but when they decided to sit on my donkey, that was just too much. When I only had 4 or 5 sitting around my potbelly pigs, I called them my buddies and tried to see how close I could get to them - usually about 10 feet away. Now I don't let them get anywhere near me. My animals are more important to me.
i have been watching the increase of the black headed vultures for several years. I feel this is the worst vulture because I hav witnessed their attacks of livestock. They get a new calf down after its born an peck out the eyes heaven help the momma cow if she is weak and cant stand right away....I shoot all black headed buzzard on sight....
Buzzards have a place in the eco-system and they do their job very well. However, I do not find them attractive running on my roof at 6:00 in the morning. I also do not like them pecking the weather stripping around my doors and my sunroof. They leave droppings and feathers all over the carport and patio. They sit....four and five together on the roof of my outbuilding and watch us on the patio. They are not scarred of us....noise or movement does not seem to bother them. There are plenty of tree areas....grown up large trees....around my house. Why do they choose to so close to us?? I am so ready for them to move on!!
I'm here looking for ways to get rid of them in a humane fashion.
humanbeing...your intentions are worthy but it seems that you are very outnumbered when it comes to your opinion on how these birds act under particular circumstances. I was just a witness to their behavior earlier today when 1 Black Headed Vulture boxed in my chickens and another ambushed from behind killing an animal that I had raised from an egg. As a steward to these animals I consider productive to my purpose, I shot both of the attackers. I am positive that this act will bring balance to the universe in the sense that my chickens are no longer on the free meal list and have a price. I also disagree with the notion that human beings were fabricated in some other dimension with the sole purpose to destroy everything on Earth raising (or lowering) its climate so that others can profit from carbon credits. Life on Earth will continue whether Vultures are loved or shot.....or both.
“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Louis D. Brandeis
Vultures are under protection of the Federal Government and it is illegal to kill one without a special permit. Anyone raising domestic birds surely knows how vulnerable they are to predation by a number of animals and should expect to lose a few along the way. Sorry, Chickenman, uh, I mean, Birdman.
"The earth does not think and does not care what people think, but it gives and takes with undeviating justice, and it remembers." J. Frank Dobie
We believe in live and let live, all creatures have their place in nature, but.....we now have a problem. We have a very large cell phone tower next to our small ranch, which of course the turkey vulture love, each night (and day) there are many, many birds that roost there. Up til recently we have lived in harmony and we have enjoyed watching them soar.
Now, about 10 to 30 have decided to perch on and around the horse water troughs. It is stinking hot here at the moment and the horses will NOT even approach the troughs let alone drink. Even cleaning the troughs out and scrubbing them does not help -- still stinks! We tried hanging up a large plastic owl - which seemed to work for a few days, but of course they soon realized it was no threat and are back.
We cannot afford the more expensive deterrants and of course cannot use anything to frighten or cause harm to the horses (nor to we want to harm the vultures) We are getting desparate. Local ranger cannot offer any suggests. Can anyone help???
Put your horses up where they're safe and set off some firecrackers as near the vultures as you can get. It may take a few doses but this might work. Or, set up another place to water the horses and cover the troughs the vultures are using. I don't know if you live in hot, dry Texas, but the vultures might just be temporarily hanging out at the troughs to beat the heat.
Call Josh, our county agent. Black vultures are fairly easy to run off with harassment or using a dead one as an effigy. Please note they are a protected species, so do not kill them to use as an effigy, but if you happen across one you can lay it out as a deterrent. Turkey vultures are non predatory scavengers and an important native that is desperately needed. Black Vultures are a predatory invasive species and are needed in our area as much as the feral hogs.
Caroline, my point of view is very simple: the survival of the wildlife is more important than the survival of one more cow or chicken. As the world continues to overpopulate with more and more humans, it's changing into some other kind of place with less and less diversity, magic or beauty.
I don't know if you're a veteran or a newcomer to the 'country' but as humans, in their ignorance and their desire to 'clean things up', destroy more habitat , unfortunate conflicts between them, their pets and livestock and the wildness will continue. Learning about the natural world is a lifetime journey. It's not a Walt Disney movie. I believe if we destroy what we have instead of learning how to live with it, we will kill something in ourselves that cannot be replaced with anything else.
But hey, i'd be glad to trade you some of my rattlesnakes or copperheads for some of your vultures. Interested?
I have 30-50 buzzards landing on my trees, storage building, house, etc every day now. I live in a small city in Bedford, but there are areas with trees for them to go to. The other day 4 of them got into my screened in porch and when I came down to let my dogs out - they busted out 4 of my screens. They have shredded my canopy on my deck and have defecated all over my yard, grill, deck, etc. I have 2 small children that play in my yard everyday. I'm starting to get worried about disease and germs. And when I say they defecate all over stuff; I'm saying that my grill cover is so covered with it that it has soaked through to my grill. Animal control will only come out when I call and shoot off a loud "gun" to scare them away. Instead I go out with my BB gun and shoot a few. At first, it only took me coming into the yard. Then I had to get my BB gun out for them to fly away. Now I literally have to shoot a few off of each of the areas they roost in. They fly away, unharmed and come back that afternoon or next morning. I realize that even this is illegal and I must look pretty funny in my nightgown and boots every morning shooting. But I do not feel safe taking my Chihuahuas out when they are there and I worry daily about my cats.
I am an animal lover. I rescue cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, birds, etc. I'm the person that takes baby birds to the vet and I have even taken a bird that I accidentally hit with my car in for help. I own 7 pets. So I do not want to be lectured about being nice to animals when I say that if I could- I would shoot and kill every one of these birds. I realize they have their place in nature and God created them for a reason. But they need to be relocated to areas more natural to them. And yes, they were here first. But grow up! This is our world now and we have to find a way to live with the animals as well as make sure we are safe in it. And as to humanbeing - you obviously are not having the issues that the rest of us are. None of us want to kill the birds. We want them away from our houses, pets, livestock and children. But no one will help us. You keep saying that there is no proof of Buzzards killing live animals. Have you actually read all the responses above??? Several people have given eye witness accounts of it happening. But no. Just sit there and keep telling us that it does not happen. You've given your point of view - you love buzzards. Good for you. If you lived near me, I'd find a dead animal and throw it in your yard so your friends the buzzards could stay safe on your house and property. How about letting the rest of us discuss how to get rid of them without killing them now?
Above there is information about an automatic sprinkler system. It costs anywhere from $50-$100. I would need about 5 of these and would have to put them up on rooftops and in trees, which most likely will not work. I've thought of electric fence wire, but I do not have an endless supply of cash for this war. Thank you for letting me know the Scarecrow wouldn't work. I assumed that, but wanted to try something. Has anyone got any other ideas???
We live on a 50 acre cypress pond and every year about this time the black buzzards return to our area and roost in the trees on the pond. They come in and land on our bank everyday for about and hour and sun themselves, spreading their wings and bouncing around. We have had up to 40 of them at one time. I had a patio set on my dock which I have had to remove because they tore the cover off of it and poop all over it. (stunk to say the least) This will be the 3rd year they have come back to our pond and they generally stay until Feb. Yesterday morning we woke to the sounds of pecking on our deck out back. When we looked out the window we had 4 of them on our deck, about 6 on our jet skis, and atleast another 10-12 around and on our boat cover. I don't mind the birds I just put things away this time of year......but, folks I don't want to give them my boat back deck pool or jet skis to them. They were tareing the cover off of our grill so I took it off and drug it to the pond and put it on the dock with some bricks on it for there amusement. We covered the boat with a cheap tarp hoping that they won't like that one and put the jet skis under the carport...hopefully they will leave things alone. We have a home in another town that we stay in during the week so my husband will be close to work and I can take care of our new grandbaby....worried what I will go home to this weekend......any ideas? I hear that folks celebrate the return of these birds in march up north.....guys you can have them year round.....and no I have not done anything to disrupt their environment.
All I can say is WOW! I happened upon this blog when researching black vultures/buzzards. I don't know ANYTHING about any kind of birds, but I'm afraid of them all. Especially large birds. Small birds only frighten me when they are in large groups. I don't know if something happened to me as a child or what but I'm deathly afraid. I live in a city in VA in a large suburb. There is a large woodsy area nearby and I'm guessing that's where they come from. I was usually the one my sisters and friends would call to get a spider away from them. While they screamed, cowered and shook with fear, I'd remove the spider and take it outside. I've never been afraid of anything, BUT, when it comes to these large black creatures I nearly have a heart attack. Reading what you have written, Human Being, has helped me to calm down a bit. It helps to know they are not going to attack me. Thank you! You seem to know a great deal about them. Any idea how I can find out more about them and erase this fear I have?
P.S. I call them Teradactyls. They look like they could pick me up and fly away with me to feed their young, LOL. But seriously, I need Help!
Lisa, I'm so sorry for your 'affliction' concerning birds. I don't know where it came from (maybe some bad sci-fi movie?) but most of us have something irrational like that lurking around inside. Getting to know more about birds would probably be the best therapy.
Vultures will never, ever attack you under any circumstances nor will any other bird. The one exception I know of is if you walk close to a nest of some species, the parents might give you a warning by swooping and calling over your head but in all my bird-watching years, I've never run up on a vulture nest.
You could even participate in the Great American Birdcount through Cornell, next February. It's open to all of us, it's fun and interesting. Maybe you've got a good friend who knows about birds? It takes time to begin to be able to identify them. Be patient. http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/
I feel confident, Lisa, that the more you study and learn about birds, the more your fear will fade away and you will begin to feel wonder for these amazing creatures. I couldn't imagine life without them. Every day, I take time to watch and listen to the birds. These times are among the most precious moments of my day.
And speaking of vultures, this afternoon a flock of about 60 of them appeared, riding the updrafts and treating me to an exquisite ballet. It absolutely made my afternoon.
Human Being, thank you so much for not thinking I'm ridiculous or stupid for my feelings about birds. When I see them high in the sky, I often stare and wander how they stay up there. It really is amazing to watch (from safely inside my car), smile.
Thanks again, Human Being, I will take your advice and I'll keep you posted on my progress...and there WILL be progress!
Very interesting reading all of the comments, concerns, etc about the buzzards invading property. We have had hundreds of buzzards roosting in the trees at the side of our property since we moved here a little of over 2 years ago, BUT the buzzards have started roosting on our house roof and deck rails for the past few days and have "whitewashed" the entire roof, covered the deck rails with mud and whitewash AND have destroyed the canopy on a porch swing on the deck. They have pulled wires loose from the television cable dish and now have also pecked holes in the roofing.
We have hollered, lapped our hands and have had to resort to shooting a Shotgun in the air to get them off the roof and deck, only to have them return within 30 to 60 minutes and we have to start all over again.
Does anyone know if this could be weather related or if it is a new habit they have formed???? Any help would be very much appreciated.
Sandy, first of all, I don't have any answers or solutions for you. I'm sure you're very frustrated. What I do know is that we humans are destroying wildlife habitat at a furious rate and nothing seems to be able to stop us from doing this. It's tragic, I think, for all concerned.
Buzzards do change their patterns and their roosts. Have they been there in the hundreds for all the two years? What state do you live in? Are you in the country, close to an urban area or in a residential 'country' development?
I'd call my state wildlife biologist if I were you, but I don't think he'll have any solution, either. Maybe in time they will relocate.
A few things you might try (at least, I would try these:). I'd get an owl balloon filled with helium and hang it around the rooft and see if it would scare it off. Also try some flashing or otherwise moving in the breeze festoons. I'd probably use some old CDs and hang them from strings from the porch temporarily-it wouldn't cost you anything, so if it didn't work, you wouldn't be out much.
I've also seen ads for stuff like bird spikes and some kind of spray, but no idea if those actually work. A place in Fort Worth had a lot of trouble with grackles and would shoot guns regularly to scare them off.
We have lived here for 17 years , and in the winter we have two trees that lose there leaves. But the black buzzards are in the yard every morning, about 30 of them and in the trees. My dog chaces them but some are not that scared as he only weights 10 pounds. I shot guns in the air, but they come back , we live on 16 acres and my neighbor who is 12 acres away called to see if we were still alive as she could see them flying over head. I don't mind them if they stay away but they are tearing up my lawn around my house, I quess looking for worms. But really making a mess. There must be something I can spread on the grass or trees to make them leave. I know they have a goose agent that I tried last year. Was wondering If anyone know of such a chemical.
Vultures are not the creatures 'tearing up' your lawn. My guess is that you probably have either armadillos or wild hogs. It's not unusual to see vultures on the ground in a field looking for something to eat but they don't make holes or ruts.
Don't worry, enjoy. I have about 150 vultures roosting around my place this winter and watching them ride the updrafts in the afternoons is one of my very favorite activities in life.
I live close to a landfill and there are literally thousands of Buzzards At present they have poked holes in a $ 300.00 vynal shed.. pecked/poked holes in the liner of my pool. I put lite weight balnkets in tree's and on fences.. You name it I have tried it.. Ha!!!!!!!
Try this.. buy a motion sensor dog and sit it out in the yard. I discovered this by changing my dogs run cable location thru out the yard the buzzards fly away the second the barking starts. I place it in different locations as well. I understand they are here for a reason and wouldn't shoot them but the will cause alot of damage to personal property.
Also in Georgia, If you are under a lease and the owner knew of this problem and failed to disclose this it is Legal Reason for breaking the lease... hope this helps.
The mother black vulture is back and she laid two eggs again. I'm just waiting for them to hatch so I can watch them grow to adulthood. They are so much fun to watch and the mother vulture is such a good mama. Last year I watched her get her babies ready to fly. The mother would stand with her wings out and then the babies would mimic her. When the mother was gone the babies would play with each other, picking up sticks and trying to take them away from one another. So I'm looking forward to when the babies hatch which should be early next month.
So humanbeing if you ever want to come observe make your way to Canyon Lake Texas. You would love it. Charlie
P.S. This mother has been around for four years and probably before that. I have never felt threatened by her or her mate or her babies. They are basically pretty shy but will come within ten ft. if I'm quiet. I also have cats and they have never been attacked.
Well let me tell you I live on a 300 acre farm and I've had the black buzzards kill 2 baby calves one just about an hour ago. I've never had any problems with the red headed buzzards just the blacks ones, they moved in here about 5 years ago and I lose about 3-6 claves a year they cost me $2000- $3000 a year.
I'm sorry to hear this, Farmer Brown. It's an age-old conflict, is it not? I don't raise livestock, I only steward what's left of the local wildlife. At least you can write it off on your income tax, if that's any consolation.
to charlie and humanbeing, here's a picture for you----a young cow trying to deliver her first calf ,with an audience, just as soon as the head is delivered the "gorgeous" iyw, black buzzards proceed to pluck the eyes from the not quite new born in the process the cows vaginal opening is also eaten away at causing extreme pain and bleeding as the calf is born the buzzards drag it off to have steak tartar. this leaves the beautiful young cow to slowly bleed to death in excruciating pain.no need to worry she will be their next feast. since you have no mercy for our stewarded animals ,which by the way we can't take off our taxes since some are purposely and lovingly raised , we come upon them and out of lack of anything humanly possible to help them must put them out of their misery. SORRY HAVE NO POSITIVE BENEFIT OF THE BLACK BUZZARD THEY ARE PREDATORY UNLIKE TURKEY BUZZARDS WHICH ALTHOUGH THEIR TASK IS GRUESOME IT IS NECESSARY! PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH! by the way the birds innocently pecking on the ground are wild turkeys not turkey buzzards. if i could send a picture to you naive people i would, absolutely heartbreaking.by the way this heifer was raised by a blind cow we have nursed along,most would have shipped her, so don't call me animal hater.
Obviously you people that love these agrressive buzzards were not awaken this morning at the crack of dawn by what sounded like the roof of the house being ripped off. Right now I see approximately 50 of those creature within yards of the house. They are gross, nasty and may have a place somewhere in society but I'd certainly prefer it not be in my back yard. I do not live in the country but in the middle of the city of Charleston. When I came upon this site I was looking for answer to rid these creature. Little did I expectI would stumble upon a buzzard loving society. If any of you buzzard lovers want to come get these creatures so you can observe them further or raise them as pets, please feel free!!!! I would welcome you with open arms!!!
Buzzard story o day-. We had a baby calf that was born yesterday and saw it last night when we were going to water the cows. The calf was on its own in the field, with the mom standing by it. This morning, saw a bunch of black buzzards in that same spot and it kind of frightened me because I didn't see the calf. However, there is a grove of trees nearby and the baby was in a protected clump of brush with all the cows and the donkey standing near. When I went to take water to this group of cows, all of them followed, but not the donkey. The donkey stood guard near the baby. I'm extremely pleased that he would do that. We looked at the baby from a distance (not too close because yesterday the baby was scared, ran into the barbed wire and got stuck) and it appears to be okay. Anyway, my points are two. One is that I think the donkey was being protective, second that the buzzards were around but were maybe attracted by the birth fluids, etc. I just checked on the baby and it looks fine, all cozy in the shade... and the buzzards are gone.
We are having a really bad time trying to discourage turkey buzzards from roosting in the pine tree right outside our house. The tree is a very tall mature tree that now has many bare branches where the buzzards have stripped the needles. What would you recommend we do? Would wrapping the tree with bird netting help? I don't know how we could get a Contech up on such a tall tree.Please hellp us we are desperate!!
The second photo os the so called buzzards happens to be wild turkeys, and they shy from people and are tame. Buzzards are birds of prey like hawks. Hawks kill their prey and then eat them.
The American black vulture eats only dead stuff or chicken from a package, and doesn't have to be road kill, but they will eat road kill. they are very sociable birds, but their cousins the red headed turkey vulture will fly away from humans.
We have all of the above here, and someone mentioned where they roost once a year, and they do that in a few towns away from here. they have an educational class there to tell the truth about these wonderful protected birds.
The black ones are the ones I enjoy. They kill no birds, and will eat or walk around with my cats and roosters in the back yard. They are funny too. They will come up on the front step early in the morning looking to see if I have something for them, and then they will run off the porch with the carpet. Then when I go to the door, they pretend to be innocent, and play with the pine cones. I feed small birds out front, and they have no interest in killing them or anything else around here.
This has been one of the most popular posts on the site. I've decided, first, that the info from the Predator conference I originally attended is probably wrong, ie, an urban legend about buzzards killing animals. Over this long amount of time no one has specifically put in any information to indicate that is true. After we had a calf born in the spring, I saw buzzards out where the calf had been, in fact, nearby, but I believe they were eating after birth, etc. Had the calf not been in a protected area with the mom nearby, perhaps there would have been problems but, again, I not only have not seen it but no one has supplied information to indicate that it is true that buzzards kill animals. During this awful drought Texas has been in, buzzards have come to the yard pond we have to drink and I don't begrudge them.
Second, it is also clear that roosting buzzards are a huge problem for a lot of people. They're protected, so not supposed to be killed. For me, I generally run towards them flapping my arms and they fly away. There are also dead trees in some forested areas around me that the buzzards like to roost in, and I think I might try putting in a roost for them to get them away from a different area if that was an issue. I assume most areas Ag cooperative services to call for advice as well.
BJ, seriously, there obviously is something right around there that has attracted the vulture. It could be the odor of carrion, a dying creature or rodent, rotting trash, a place to nest, perhaps even an injury to the vulture that brought it there. It could be any number of things.
The black headed, or Mexican Black Buzzards as they are called around here ABSOLUTELY DO kill newborn calves. We have had one killed (with the mother suffering severe face wounds) and another injured in the last few weeks. The second was two days old when attacked, and would have been killed if we had not witnessed the attack from the other side of the pasture and intervened. Anyone touting the virtues of these birds have never seen what they do. The "bad" ones are as pictured above, and can be distinguised in the air by white near the tips of their wings, and by more frequent flapping of the wings. These buzzards are protected, but permits can be aquired to shoot, or harass them. Check with your local USDA office for details. They can also help arange for a county trapper to help.
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