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November 4, 2013

Black vultures could be stirring up trouble for livestock producers

(Continued)

Control methods

Vultures are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are managed by the federal government’s Department of Interior, according to Jury and Bradley.

The agents said the vultures can be harassed with pyrotechnics or other methods without a federal permit, but can only be killed after obtaining a Migratory Bird Depredation Permit for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is against the law to shoot black vultures threatening harm to livestock without a permit.

Farmers looking to obtain a permit should visit http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-13.pdf.

Jury and Bradley said the USDA Wildlife Services, located in Auburn, could be helpful in the application process by providing a recommendation to accompany the permit application. To find out more, contact USDA Wildlife Services at 334-844-5670.

Nonlethal methods

Jury and Bradley said USDA Wildlife Services is also helpful in providing information to purchase and acquire equipment such as pyrotechnics, sirens and propane cannons that might encourage vultures to relocate. The agents said the nonlethal harassment of vultures should begin at dark when vultures begin to roost and that it might take several (up to seven) consecutive nights before the birds relocate.

The agents also encourage farmers to remove dead food sources on the property as well as move livestock to easily watched pastures during birthing season.

Jury and Bradley said in the event black vultures become a problem on a farm, farmers should take note of the details in order to provide as much information as possible when applying for a migratory bird depredation permit. According to the agents, farmers should make sure vultures are being correctly identified as well as know the location where the problem is occurring. The agents said it is also important to document the date and time of each occurrence and take photos if possible.

To find out more about controlling black vultures, contact Spenser Bradley at 256-773-2549 or Lyndi Jury at 256-974-2464

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