National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC)
Vultures roost communally at night with up to several hundred birds sharing the same structure or group of trees. Roost composition is not static, however, and birds often shift among several roost sites from one night to the next. Thus, for effective management of vulture populations, it is necessary to identify the locations of all major roosting sites within the area of interest and to document the movement patterns of the birds among roosts as well as their daily activity between the roost and their feeding sites.
The area in and around a military air base often harbors a healthy vulture population which often creates dangerous situations for pilots. While vultures are not the only threat to aviation safety, they are a major one and effective management of the vulture population will contribute substantially to lessening the risks to pilots. At Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort SC, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Key West Naval Air Station, and Eglin Air Force Base in Niceville FL, we are documenting short- and long-term vulture movements using satellite GPS transmitters and placing ID tags on their wings intended for reporting when observed. By quantifying vulture flight patterns, locating roost sites, and identifying other key resources used by the vulture population, we will be able to develop a management approach designed to reduce the risk of vulture–aircraft interactions.
Vulture Tagging Project
NWRC is conducting research evaluating the movements of wing-tagged vultures. Each tagged bird has a cattle ear tag in its RIGHT wing and each tag has a letter and number (ie. F47 or C20) or a series of 3 letters (ie. AMJ). The birds were marked and released in Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida, and the tags may be visible from below while the birds soar. To report sightings of tagged birds, click here.
All sightings should be sent to the email or address below indicating the location of the sighting, tag number, species, as well as any other pertinent behavioral or other information. Any information of recoveries of tagged birds should also be sent to the USGS Bird Banding Lab in MD http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/.
Thank you for any information you may provide.
John S Humphrey
USDA/APHIS/WS/National Wildlife Research Center
2820 E University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32641
Guidelines For Using Effigies to Disperse Nuisance Vulture Roosts
Managing Depredation and Nuisance Problems Caused by Vultures
Solutions Through Science: Reducing Damage Caused by Vultures
Vulture Management Factsheet
Additional Wildlife Services Vulture Information
Avery, M. L., J. S. Humphrey, T. S. Daughtery, J. W. Fischer, M. P. Milleson, E. A. Tillman, W. E. Bruce, And W. D. Walter. 2011. Vulture flight behavior and implications for aircraft safety. Journal of Wildlife Management 75:1581-1587.
Beason, R. C., J. S. Humphrey, N. E. Myers, And M. L. Avery. 2010. Synchronous monitoring of vulture movements with satellite telemetry and avian radar. Journal of Zoology 282:157-162. 774K
Cooey, C. K., J. A. Fallon, M. L. Avery, J. T. Anderson, E. A. Falkenstein, And H. Klandorf. 2010. Refinement of biomarker pentosidine methodology for use on aging birds. Human-Wildlife Interactions 4:304-314. 257K
Runge, M. C., J. R. Sauer, M. L. Avery, B. F. Blackwell, And M. D. Koneff. 2009. Assessing allowable take of migratory birds. Journal of Wildlife Management 73:556-565. 268K
Blackwell, B. F., M. L. Avery, B. D. Watts, And M. S. Lowney. 2007. Demographics of black vultures in North Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 71:1976-1979. 76K
Avery, M. L. 2004. Trends in North America vulture populations. Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference 21:116-121. 352K
Avery, M. L., And J. L Cummings. 2004. Livestock depredations by black vultures and golden eagles. Sheep and Goat Research Journal 19:58:63.
Avery, M. L., J. S. Humphrey, E. A. Tillman, K. O. Phares, And J. E. Hatcher. 2002. Dispersing vulture roosts on communication towers. Journal of Raptor Research 36:45-50.
Humphrey, J. S., M. L. Avery, And A. P. Mcgrane. 2000. Evaluating relocation as a vulture management tool in north Florida. Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference 19: 49-53.
Humphrey, J. S., E. A. Tillman, And M. L. Avery. 2004. Vulture-cattle interactions at a central Florida ranch. Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference 21:122-125.
Mauldin, R. E., B. A. Kimball, J. J. Johnston, J. C. Hurley, And M. L. Avery. 2003. Development of a synthetic materials mimic for vulture olfaction research. Proceedings: Wildlife Damage Management Conference. 10:430-438.
Tillman, E. A., J. S. Humphrey, And M. L. Avery. 2002. Use of vulture carcasses and effigies to reduce vulture damage to property and agriculture. Proceedings: Vertebrate Pest Conference 20:123-128.
Invasive Wildlife Project
Goal and Objectives
FL, Field Station
March 19, 2013