question of the day is this: Why are there so many
turkey vultures running around South Jersey?
actually are turkey vultures, Cathartes aura, not the
black vultures that have reportedly been moving up to
these parts from areas farther south recently.
vultures are sometimes called "carrion crows"
(they eat dead things) or buzzards, but the result is
the same: They climb on car roofs and porches, and they
get sick and leave droppings just about everywhere.
also are called "nature’s garbage
collectors" and may have been attracted by the
carcasses of rabbits and squirrels left by the numerous
foxes that have appeared here in the last year or so.
Audubon Society’s field guide says the vultures,
unlike other birds, have a sense of smell that allows
them to detect carrion odor.
creatures don’t actually kill their dinner, but wait
to see if there are leftovers, making them more like
some humans who get peckish while watching late-night
droppings produced by turkey vultures and other
varieties can harm or kill trees and vegetation, some
sources say, but they do not cause disease.
vultures are protected under the Migratory Bird Act of
1918 and killing one can result in a $15,000 fine,
according to federal sources.
adapted very well to the human population, they are
becoming more difficult to discourage from residential
areas, according to the Turkey Vulture Society (https://turkeyvulturesociety.wordpress.com).
does not mean that their populations will rise to any
dangerous level, however, the society says. Like all
other wild animals, they are controlled by natural
the birds are roosting in trees or on cellphone towers,
it is best to leave them in peace," the society
urges on its website.
site also offers suggestions for deterring them.
recommendation is not to feed them — the same tack my
mother took with the neighborhood kids when I was
it once, and they start showing up with their families.