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Busy Buzzards

Watch out, we have Busy Buzzards in Florida. The Black vulture (Coragyps atratus) is only found in southern states and has been increasing in numbers of the past decade. They are not shy and can be found pecking, tearing and defecating everywhere.

pictures of the black vulture and the turkey vultureMost of us see vultures on the road munching free road kill. Well, they have lots of other places they like to hang out. And these large birds do not travel alone.

  • In the middle of the road dining on road kill
  • Lined up on a dumpster behind a restaurant
  • Pretending to be weather vanes on the peak of a roof
  • Having a buzzard ball on top of a bird nesting tower
  • In parking lots eating cars for lunch

Ewe, pecking on cars you say. Vultures like to eat rubber. Yes, rubber.

Unsuspecting drivers park their cars in public lots and return to find their car covered in poop and the rubber around their windshields, wiper blades, and sunroofs chewed up by a mysterious visitor. Some have found their cloth roofs torn apart.

These Buzzards are sneaky, they are not photographed very often during their feed frenzies. Island resident Jim Hughes never goes anywhere without his camera. He is our unofficial but official island photographer. Jim captured this group of Buzzards dining on a parked car near the Marco Island bridge.

a group of vultures on a burgdany car that is covered in vulture poop Vultures on the roof of a car
vulture on a window chewing molding Vulture pecking windshield wiper
Images Copyright © Jim Hughes, Naples, Florida

 

Vulture warning signThe Buzzard car attacks are not uncommon in some states, prompting governments to post signs warning car owners of the presence of hungry Buzzards. Everglades National Park has several webpages educating visitors Vultures & Visitors. The Royal Palm parking area in Everglades National Park even provides free tarps & bungee cords for visitors to use in their parking lot.

Blue tarp bungeed to a car

Our advice, don't park your car near a group of vultures, find another place to park. Park in full sun where vultures are less likely to visit (this is not the best cause of action if vultures are in the area). The only way to prevent your car from being dined on is to cover it with a tarp. If you pull into a parking lot with a bunch of cars covered in tarps, look for a sign saying they provide them or leave if you don't have one! Every Florida car should have a tarp & bungees in their trunk.

The National Wildlife Research Center did a study and found that hanging a dead vulture in a tree near parking areas stops vultures from frequenting the area. So if you see a dead vulture in a tree, your car may be safe.

If you need to protect your property, mounting a fake vulture, installing spike strips or a motion-sensitive sprinkler are recommended deterrents. Hanging a dead vulture in a neighborhood or commercial property is not a good idea though.

Vultures are a federally protected species, so you can't shoot them. Making loud noises doesn't scare them either.

 

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