Skip to main content

Conflicts with People

Vultures tearing tarpBecause of their adaptable nature, increasing numbers, and complex behavior, vultures are involved in a wide range of conflicts. These conflicts can occur in agricultural environments as well as suburban and rural settings. 


Vultures fouling playgroundDamage to property and infrastructure - Problems often occur when large groups of vultures roost or occupy woodlots near people's homes. Property damage to residences and commercial buildings from black vultures includes tearing window caulking, roof shingles, vent seals, rubber roof liners, and pool covers. They may also damage vehicles by scratching paint, removing rubber seals and wipers and puncturing vinyl seat covers. Black and turkey vultures can affect people's quality of life due to accumulations of feces and regurgitations, especially when they loaf on roofs of houses, office buildings, playground equipment, and communication towers. Vultures roosting on electrical transmission structures can produce accumulations of feces that in turn lead to power outages, at great expense to service providers.

Vultures picking at pigDamage to Agriculture - Both turkey and black vultures eat animals that have died from various causes. However, black vultures can also attack and kill calves, lambs, piglets, and other vulnerable animals. This predatory behavior often results in serious injury to livestock, as vultures target the eyes and soft membranous tissues. These animals often die from the attack or must be euthanized due to the extent of their injuries.


Vultures on water towerHealth and Safety Concerns - Vultures can cause health and safety problems due to the accumulations of their droppings and their roosting and soaring behaviors. Contamination of water sources may occur when coliform bacteria from droppings enter water towers or springs which supply water to residences and businesses. Citizens frequently express health concerns because of the accumulation of droppings from roosts near their homes. Many people consider vultures a nuisance because of the white-wash effect their droppings leave on trees at roost sites, and the ammonia odor that emanates from roost sites. Large concentrations of vultures are common, especially near roosts and landfills. Vultures can be hazardous to aircraft, especially when waste management facilities and landfills are located near airports. Vultures are especially prone to bird strikes because they are large, slow-moving, not very maneuverable, and often soar in flocks.

Complementary Content