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Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:23 PM

Like Hitchcock's The Birds. Anyone else had weird black vultures take over your neighborhood??

It happened in our area about a month ago. It was actually very strange and quite creepy. It was really bad for a day, and then tapered off a little for 3 or 4 days.

These birds are aggressive. They were on the roofs, in our yards, in the trees, and worse thing....they were diving at cars. They were sitting in our yard, and it was creeping us out. Just hanging around in groups. When we made noises to get them to go away, they calmly turned their heads toward us. They did not move one bit. When a friend pulled into our driveway and started to get out of the car, one of the larger ones got up off the lawn and started toward her.

We are not a rural neighborhood at all, so it was surprising they took us over like that. Aggressive and scary.

At first we thought they were ospreys because of the huge wing span. Then we saw their bald heads. Their heads look a little like a wood stork's, their bodies are totally black .



Hubby told me he saw on TV that South Florida was having a migrating flock of them there. I looked online, and found they are in Virginia, West Virginia, and New Jersey. They are a protected species, and one of the stories tells of the harm they did to a neighborhood in Virginia.

Vultures take over Leesburg neighborhood

These vultures, up to 250 a night, have taken over this southeast portion of Leesburg – stripping bark off trees, eating rubber off roofs, cars, hot tub, pool and boat covers and destroying grills. Lawn furniture tends to be a favorite treat as well. And their excrement is acidic – enough to eat the paint off cars.

Vultures have highly acidic stomach liquids and urine which helps in their role as scavengers but contributes to the damage they can cause, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“At night you can hear them up on the roof. They’ve stripped the bark off the pine trees. The sound is bad … and the drippings, they’re just horrible,” said Sarah Corde, who lives in the home behind the Camps. “We have people that just drive up and down the street each night to look at them.”

The Camps finally got enough of the vultures shenanigans and called in the feds.


This video shows the pyrotechnics, lasers and other devices the USDA shot off into the air to scare them away.



This article has more details about them. Turns out this Black Vulture will attack small live animals, not just dead ones.

[link:http://lincolnjournalinc.com/the-birds-venue-of-vultures-causes-concern-p9340-1.htm|
The Birds: Venue of vultures causes concern]

A Lincoln Journal photographer captured images of the birds at the high school in recent days. The population appears to be a mix of the turkey vultures with their familiar red wrinkled heads, and the slightly heavier black vultures with the dark grey wrinkled necks. According to the Website Wingmasters.net, the turkey vulture appears to have evolved to the point where they exploit a particular niche of food - the carcasses of small animals. The birds locate the carrion with their sense of smell. Mammals eaten include mice, deer, livestock, cows, and even reptiles, amphibians and birds. When the turkey vultures feed on large animal carcasses, they often do so in groups that include black vultures. According to Wingmasters, the turkey plays "second fiddle” in such instances, with the black taking control of the carcass.

The black vulture tends to prefer larger carcasses. More aggressive by nature, the black vulture is more inclined to eat live food. Wingmasters included this particularly colorful description of the black vulture: "They have been seen fishing, and they have also been observed ganging up on live skunks and opossums and tearing the hapless victims apart. They routinely eat nestling birds, from seabirds to herons, and they congregate in large numbers on tropical beaches to harvest hatchling sea turtles,” notes the Website.

...The USDA notes that vultures are federally-protected migratory birds that play an important role in the environment. "Increasing and expanding populations may be associated with problems, including agricultural and property damage, and health and safety concerns. Integrated solutions to address problems may include habitat manipulation, dispersal techniques, and population management,” the USDA notes at an agency Website.


After I read all this I began to wonder who else had seen this in their neighborhood. It left me uneasy for a couple of days. They were definitely birds with an attitude and big enough to make one back off.

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Reply Like Hitchcock's The Birds. Anyone else had weird black vultures take over your neighborhood?? (Original post)
madfloridian Jan 2013 OP
MNBrewer Jan 2013 #1
d_r Jan 2013 #2
madfloridian Jan 2013 #5
MOMFUDSKI Jan 2013 #3
Richard D Jan 2013 #4
graham4anything Jan 2013 #6
madfloridian Jan 2013 #7
FSogol Jan 2013 #8
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #9
madfloridian Jan 2013 #12
otohara Jan 2013 #10
madfloridian Jan 2013 #11
cpwm17 Jan 2013 #16
virgogal Jan 2013 #23
quaker bill Jan 2013 #13
madfloridian Jan 2013 #19
quaker bill Jan 2013 #28
Daemonaquila Jan 2013 #14
madfloridian Jan 2013 #20
Zorra Jan 2013 #15
A HERETIC I AM Jan 2013 #17
lynne Jan 2013 #18
madfloridian Jan 2013 #22
Rosa Luxemburg Jan 2013 #21
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #24
Buns_of_Fire Jan 2013 #25
madfloridian Jan 2013 #26
Mojorabbit Jan 2013 #27
Earth_First Jan 2013 #29

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:25 PM

1. We don't get the vultures

instead we get large murders of crows.

http://www.facebook.com/minneapolis.crows

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:28 PM

2. I see a ton of these in central florida

Huge flocks.

The weirdest thing I have ever seen is I got up early as dawn was breaking and the world was still grey and misty, and there were a bunch of sand hill cranes standing around the neighborhood. Big four foot tall things. Just standing there looking back at me and making that whooping sound.

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Response to d_r (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:42 PM

5. That would be a treat to see sand hill cranes.

This is the first time I have ever seen these vultures at all. I have seen the other kinds along roadsides, etc. the ones with the red in their head. This was odd to see these aggressive birds take over in an area so close to a town.

We have the white egrets and ibises walking around all the time, and they are not afraid either. The good thing is they are not pushy, they don't bother me.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:33 PM

3. YEP

I live on Treasure Island (St. Pete) here in Florida. We get them in the winter months but never in summer. Also used to see a lot of them at the campsite at Alexander Springs which is not far from Leesburg. It is a winter thingy. They can be a real nuisance in large numbers.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:39 PM

4. lots of crows

seem to be driving out all the raptors.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:58 PM

6. Think it's the climate change. All creatures are becoming quite confused

 

It was nearly 60 degrees in NY area today, and the weirdest fog

And it's january

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:00 PM

7. We have been in the 80s for over a week.

It's not hot, in fact it's pleasant. But this is January, normally our coldest month. It's unreal.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:03 PM

8. I've seen more than normal (I'm 45 mins East of Leesburg).

Haven't seen any destruction caused by them. I have a hard time believing this: "observed ganging up on live skunks and opossums tearing the hapless victims apart" since possums and skunks are nocturnal.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:05 PM

9. I used to, but nevermore. Nt.

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:18 PM

12. lol

nt

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:11 PM

10. Crows Screaming @ Owl

 

The crows don't like the owl one bit and they will came to our tree where the owl was and wouldn't let up until they chased the owl away.

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Response to otohara (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:17 PM

11. Now that is just plain mean.

I love owls. I quit smoking years ago. Before I did I would sit on the back patio to smoke. About 9 at night an owl would come to our bird bath, just rotate his head and look at me. It was so sweet.

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Response to otohara (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:48 PM

16. Great Horned Owls eat crows

 

It's self defense.

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Response to otohara (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:31 AM

23. It's called "mobbing". They do it to Bald Eagles too,and probably other raptors.

 

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:20 PM

13. They are creatures of habit

In natural areas they tend to congregate at a "stoop down" tree. If you are out there early enough in the am, you will occasionally see them, by the dozen or more, in their tree with their backs to the sun and wings spread wide. They use the early sunlight to dry their flight feathers before heading out to feed. They usually lighten their load before leaving. You can always tell when you have found a tree they use, as it is splattered white.

On occasion when this tree is taken down for development, they will use the roof of the house that took its place, or occasionally the screened pool enclosure. It makes for some nasty run off.

The problem with using pyrotechnics is that often enough they will vomit as a defense mechanism, which only adds color and texture to the mix. The pyro will often work after several days, usually they just relocate to another tree or structure. We need them in the environment as something is needed to clean up the carcasses when critters pass and few species are better adapted to the task.

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Response to quaker bill (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:08 AM

19. We need them in the environment, I know.

It's a NIMBY thing.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #19)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:38 AM

28. I have been to a couple of houses

where they selected the screen pool enclosure. Their use rendered the pool and pool deck pretty much unusable.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:27 PM

14. Oh, for cripes and criminy!

 

Enjoy 'em. Vultures are not "scary" or "creepy" - they're smart, curious, hungry, and some of the funniest birds out there. I get to work with them at a rehabilitation center. They are not particularly aggressive, do not have powerful feet or beaks to attack with, and the worst they can generally do is barf on you. Yes, it's their primary defense mechanism. And no, you want no part of that action.

You're getting a rare treat with a close-up look. The droppings are no big deal - just clean them up with a hose or pressure washer and they'll do no harm. They'll move on soon to an area where they'll find enough lunch, which isn't the middle of a residential area.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:11 AM

20. They might be interesting one on one.

It was an interesting close-up look, you are right. If there was one or two I would find it interesting....with that many everywhere around us it was only scary.

The drivers were caught off guard and nearly had accidents. It's like they enjoyed showing their wingspans to the drivers up close.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:43 PM

15. Buzzards are the only birds I dislike; they are nasty critters,

they are bad luck, and they are disgusting and totally give me the creeps.

There are many turkey buzzards here in N. Central AZ, and Mexico is totally infested with them.

Ravens, however, are awesome.



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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:52 PM

17. "Peace Eagle"

http://www.in.gov/dnr/kids/5856.htm

If it wasn't for them, the carrion would be around for a lot longer.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:59 PM

18. Last time I saw this, we'd had a heavy snow -

- the ground had been covered for a while and I began to notice vultures lined up in trees near the road. They were waiting for road kill and - if something got hit - they would all go at it and would stay in the middle of the road until it was gone. They wouldn't move for vehicles.

We've had the big groups of starlings the past few years. There will be so many that it makes my ears hurt when they take off as a group. Guess it's a pressure change from their wings.

No recent vultures, thankfully, but Leesburg is only about 45 minutes away and I've got my fingers crossed they don't come here to visit!

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Response to lynne (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:16 AM

22. We've had starlings, robins, and crows migrating often...

I never minded them. The crows were noisy, but they weren't pushy toward people. I felt intimidated by these vultures.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:13 AM

21. we had 17 of them on the roof

they were diving down to a carcass behind the bushes. They were enormous. The only vulture I had seen was in the zoo.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Reply #21)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:48 AM

24. Oh my!!!!!!

And I made a stink when a vulture got on the edge of my pool.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:03 AM

25. “For a species making a living at eating dead things they’re sensitive to their own species...”

There's your problem -- you've been invaded by corporate CEOs!

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Response to Buns_of_Fire (Reply #25)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:47 AM

26. It evoked the same feelings...

that I get when I see what the CEOs are doing to education. The frustration, the anger, the helplessness. Add to that they are arrogant.

Your point is valid.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:27 AM

27. They are my favorite bird

They come through here every once in a while and I love walking out and seeing them all lined up on the dock and atop the pontoon boat. If you read up on them, they are just amazing animals.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:10 AM

29. In the City of Rochester; Washington Square Park is a winter roost for crows...

There will be tens of thousands of them; roosting during the evening hours during the winter.

I've been down to witness this firsthand; and I can completely see your concern. It's a very unsettling feeling for sure...harmless; but unsettling.

Good luck!

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