Methods Development and Population Management of Vultures and Invasive Species

Methods Development and Population Management of Vultures and Invasive Species



Development of information and methods pertinent to the management of avian and invasive species populations that impact agriculture, property, natural resources, animal health, and human health and safety are high priority needs within the USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services program. Among native bird species, this research project focuses on vultures and corvids (crows and ravens) in developing information on roosting behavior, activity patterns, and population dynamics. Particularly with regard to vultures*, GPS satellite telemetry coupled with GIS data analysis are applied to questions of landscape use and flight behavior as related to aircraft safety.

Management and reduction of invasive wildlife populations is currently a major area of emphasis. Managing invasive birds, mammals and reptiles is consistent with Executive Order 13112 of February 3, 1999, asking federal agencies to "conduct research on invasive species and develop technologies to prevent introduction and provide for environmentally sound control."

The invasive species situation in Florida is severe due to its climate, demographics and environment. Even if no new exotic vertebrates become established in Florida, there is an abundance of established nonnative vertebrates that merit management action. Development of effective management tools and projects is of the highest priority. In some cases control techniques are already available and can simply be redirected or modified. In other cases new tools and methods are needed to confront species that are not traditionally within the scope of Wildlife Services' management efforts. Invasive species currently under investigation include the feral hog, Burmese python, black spiny-tailed iguana, black and white tegu, common myna, and monk parakeet.

The development and application of wildlife population monitoring methods assist in reducing impacts of invasive predators to endangered and threatened species, such as sea turtles and other vulnerable, beach-nesting species. Invasive feral hogs severely impact sensitive and rare native plant communities as well as permanently affect valuable archeological resources. Tools to quantify these impacts and to reduce their occurrence have potentially widespread application.

Project Leader: Dr. Michael L. Avery
Florida Field Station
2820 E. University Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32641
(352) 375-2229

Field Station Research Staff:

John S. Humphrey
Dr. Richard M. Engeman (Fort Collins, CO)
Eric Tillman

Downloadable Factsheet on Research Project 

Invasive Species Links:

Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA)
Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System
The Invasion of Exotic Reptiles and Amphibians in Florida (pdf)

*Request for assistance 

We are 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.

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. Additionally, the USGS Bird Banding Lab in MD which maintains the central database for marked birds in the North America requests that these reports also be sent to them which can be done by going to

Thank you for any information you may provide.

John S Humphrey
Wildlife Biologist
USDA/APHIS/WS/National Wildlife Research Center
2820 E University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32641
(352) 375-2229

Project Goal and Objectives
Vulture Publications 
Gainesville, FL, Field Station
Guidelines For Using Effigies to Disperse Nuisance Vulture Roosts
Report Tagged Vultures

Solutions Through Science: Reducing Damage Caused by Vultures

Vulture Management Factsheet
Additional Wildlife Services Vulture Information


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