Hi Michael!

Your statement that Black Vultures "are known to kill and eat newborn calves" sounds like a lot of others I have heard but don't believe.  As far as sea turtle hatchlings, there are other avian as well as many mamallian predators, but if you have any information from a qualified first-person observer who has actually seen Black Vultures kill and eat a calf, I
would be very interested and even more surprised.

Roy Peterson
[log in to unmask] 

 other avaian predators on them 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Meisenburg 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Friday, February 09, 2001 8:54 AM
  Subject: Re: [FLORIDABIRDS-L] Black Vulture Nuisance

  Dear Vince,

  Black vultures do prey on living animals, unlike turkey vultures.  They are
  known to kill and eat newborn calves as well as sea turtle hatchlings on
  beaches.  In fact, in some areas, they may be so bad as to pose a significant
  threat to hurtle hatchlings (Costa Rica).  Also, they have been known to
  perch on the backs of animal with sores.  The vultures will pick at the
  sores, and continue the process until a severe wound develops.  I do not know
  whether they have been implicated in the deaths of these large animals, but I
  suspect so.

  Another problem with our growing black vulture population is the non-organic
  damage from them.  Boat owners are finding their seat cushions and vinyl
  covers shredded by the birds, and the same fate is happening to asphault
  shingles on the roofs of homes.

  There is research now going on on how best to prevent their actions, and I
  don't view the methods as draconian.  Chemicals to make something distasteful
  are not bad.  Do you want to go back to the good old days of a 12-guage in
  the hands of the farmer or homeowner as the preferred method?  Even a
  chemical that makes the bird vomit would be a good strategy to establish a
  negative enforcement of a trait.  They aren't out spraying Fenthion
  (Rid-a-Bird) like someone did in Marco Island back in December that resulted
  in the deaths on many birds of many species.  Keep this in perspective.  Even
  if some birds are being killed, it isn't many.  The USFWS has to give them a
  permit before they kill any vultures, and they do not give them out easily.

  I am not affiliated with the Florida USDA facility but I do know several of
  the biologists there.  I believe they are doing very good work.  The issue
  that you've described is a typical one faced by contemporary wildlife
  bioligists.  With a growing human population, increasing populations of some
  animal species, and a decline in hunting and other killing of wildlife, there
  are more problematic interactions to contend with, and in today's
  politically-correct society that wants nonlethal solutions, the answers are
  not always easy or ones that everyone will agree with.  The folks at the USDA
  are just trying to find the best solutions, and nonlethality is preferred.

  Lastly, they are doing some good research there on the lives of vultures,
  such as on their migration, ranges, and dispersal patterns, that will help to
  increase our knowledge base of these species.  In addition, the facility is
  being used by several University of Florida researchers, myself included, for
  various studies (such as mercury effects on birds, avian dispersal of exotic
  plants, and avian predator recognition cues).

  Michael Meisenburg
  Archer, FL

  Vincent Lucas wrote:

  > Greetings:
  > On another out-of-state listserv, I read about research being conducted
  > in Florida to study the threat of Black Vultures to livestock,
  > specifically newborn calves as well as property depradation by roosting
  > vultures. Methods are being developed to help alleviate the problem using
  > various methods including chemical irritants and lethal shooting. These
  > methods seem a bit draconian to me. To read about this on the web, go to
  > this URL:
  > Does anyone know more about this research and how effective these methods
  > are?
  > Vince Lucas
  > Naples