Due to their scavenging traits, the sight of turkey vultures is often considered to be a little unnerving. Although, besides their appearance, there are other problems these birds can impose on you if they decide to roost on your property.
Vultures are social birds that tend to poop a lot and occasionally vomit, leaving you to clean up a big mess. Moreover, they might tear down your vents or leave behind bones and pieces of carcasses, which can attract other unwanted pests to your property.
Here are 9 effective ways of getting rid of Turkey Vultures:
- Sonic bird cannon: Like most birds, turkey vultures are afraid of loud noises. A device that can produce loud, explosive noise can certainly keep them away.
- Distress calls: Birds communicate with each other using specific calls; vultures are no different. If you can play a recorded distress call, the turkey vulture will believe that there’s danger around your property and will avoid coming close.
- Bird-shock tracks: Bird-shock tracks are the most cost-effective deterrent for turkey vultures. These tracks give a slight shock to the birds, just enough to drive them away but not enough to harm them.
- Motion-activated sprinklers
- Bird nets
- Roosting spikes
- Laser deterrent
Stay with us to the end of this article, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting rid of Turkey Vultures that have settled down on your property.
Identifying Turkey Vultures
Commonly referred to as “Carrion Crow” and “John Crow,” the Turkey Vultures are the most widespread New World Vulture family member in North America.
These vultures might appear similar to the other New or Old World vulture species from a distance, but upon close examination, you can easily tell the difference.
Turkey vultures are large birds, with both sexes displaying minimal differences in their size and plumage. From afar, their plumage might appear black but is originally dark brown in color. A large part of their underwing is colored with light grey and can only be seen when they are in flight.
The head of the turkey vultures is red in color, with a white bill ending in a strong hook. Their legs are red, too, but often appear whitish due to their tendency to defecate.
If you want to identify these vultures mid-flight, watch for their soaring formation. Turkey vultures make a V-formation turned slightly upwards when they soar, unlike the straight-line formation of most other vulture species.
Can Turkey Vultures be dangerous?
Understandably, having Turkey Vultures circling your property or roosting on it can be unsettling for many. But despite their daunting and somewhat gross image, turkey vultures are mostly harmless to humans.
They feed strictly on dead animals and birds and are rarely seen hunting the living. Additionally, they lack any features that can be used to harm or attack us.
However, while these birds are not dangerous to you, your children, and your pets, they can be a menace to your house and property. The first problem with these birds is their social nature. Unlike most of the birds of prey species, the turkey vultures always flock around in large groups.
If one of them has been frequenting around your roof, we can assure you that there will be more soon. And a crowd of vultures is not as easy to overlook as a single one and might be a disturbing sight for your guests and visitors.
Turkey vultures are also known to poop a lot. Having more than one of these frequenters in your yard means spending a considerable amount of time cleaning the large volume of poop they leave behind. They vomit, too, but that is merely a harmless defense mechanism and occurs rarely.
The last concern you might have for turkey vultures is that they can tear down roof shingles, vent seals, rubber liners, and more.
Are turkey vultures a threat to your backyard birds?
Most bird enthusiasts are worried about protecting the birds that visit their backyard when they notice turkey vultures circling it.
If you’re one of these birders, we’re here to tell you that you needn’t worry, as the diet of turkey vultures consists exclusively of carrion and human garbage. However, these birds might scare away some of the smaller birds from your yard.
Getting rid of Turkey Vultures
Because the turkey vultures are rather scary-looking and can create a mess in your yard, it makes sense if you don’t want them hanging around your yard and property. But you cannot simply shoo them away; they’re more persistent than that.
In this section, we will talk about how you can get rid of these birds humanely, without causing them any harm. Keep reading to learn more:
1. Sonic bird cannon
All birds, be it a hawk or a cardinal, are afraid of loud noises; the turkey vultures are no exception. The sonic bird cannon is a propane-powered device that uses this weakness of the turkey vultures to draw them away from your property.
It produces loud blasts of sounds (ranging up to 130 decibels) that can scare away the buzzards within 10 acres range.
Most sonic bird cannons come with manual customization options for moderating the sound that comes out of them; we’d recommend you to go with these devices.
Another thing you must keep in mind while purchasing these bird cannons is that they work best for large properties with vast outdoor spaces. Also, you should expect your neighbors to ring your doorbell, enquiring about the loud sounds.
2. Vulture distress calls
While the sonic bird cannons cannot exactly be considered a passive turkey vulture deterrent measure, the one we will talk about now certainly is.
As you might already know, many bird species communicate with each other using various calls to send their message across vast distances. Turkey Vultures are one of those birds that have a distinct distress call to alert their fellow birds of danger.
If you can produce these distress calls in your yard, the vultures will assume that there’s danger in your yard and will maintain a safe distance from it. But how will you record these distress calls to play them?
Fortunately, there are many electronic anti-bird sound repelling devices online that can help you with it. Some of these devices are generalized for all birds, while others are specific to the vultures.
It might be a time-taking process to find the one you’re looking for, but it’s going to be worth your while.
However, when you’re using this device, make sure to play it intermittently and not continually. Otherwise, the turkey vultures will eventually figure out that it’s just pretense.
3. Bird-shock tracks
If you’re looking for a way to deter the turkey vultures efficiently as well as cost-effectively, installing a bird shock track is just what you need.
To create a shock track for the vultures, you will need a bird shock tape, which looks identical to any regular adhesive tape but can be electrified.
Once you unroll it and set it up around all the places where the vultures prefer to (or are likely to) roost, connect it with a bird shock charger and turn it on.
When the vultures attempt to perch on these spots, they will feel a shock just strong enough to fly away without causing them any serious damage.
4. Motion-activated sprinklers
While some people use vulture sprays and repellents to draw them away, we wouldn’t recommend you to do so. Wondering why?
Well, it is because many of these sprays and repellents are too strong and might contain chemicals that could be unhealthy for the vultures. What if we told you that you could use water to scare them away?
If you can install a motion-activated sprinkling system in your yard, you will have just the element of surprise you need to repel the turkey vultures. Just like any other bird, turkey vultures don’t enjoy being submerged with water out of the blues and would certainly stay away from such yards.
Motion-activate sprinklers are perfect for driving away turkey vultures that stoop low in your garden and often end up eating carrion on the ground.
5. Bird nets
Although most people consider bird nets to be unpleasant to look at, if turkey vultures have invaded your property, it might be the most useful way to detract them. There are two steps to this process: purchasing the right netting and installing it properly.
When you’re buying netting for the vultures, keep in mind that turkey vultures are both large and strong. If the material of your netting isn’t strong enough, they will cut through it in no time.
We would recommend you go for polyethylene twine netting, as it is one of the few strong enough nettings to withstand vulture attacks.
The process of installing bird netting can be long and tiring, as you’ll have to cover large areas with it. Cover the structure you’re trying to protect as a tent, leaving at least a 1-foot distance between the net and the surface.
6. Roosting spikes
Are you tired of having turkey vultures roost all over your roof? The roosting spikes might solve your problem. These spikes have a series of 3-4 thin spikes, jutting out in all directions to prevent the vultures from perching or roosting on them.
You can use either outdoor glue or caulk to stick these spikes on your roof. Just make sure not to leave enough distance between the spikes to let them perch in between, and you’re good to go.
7. Laser deterrent
Did you know that light, like sound, can also work as a deterrent for the turkey vultures when appropriately used? There are various light-based vulture deterrents out there, but laser deterrents are the most efficient ones among them. Wondering how these deterrents work? We’ll tell you.
Laser deterrents emit colorful lights in different directions and unusual patterns. When the buzzards see these lights, they feel confused and think something weird is happening in their place of origin. This will keep them from hovering over your property for a long time.
Loud and bright fireworks are also a great way of deterring turkey vultures, as they feel threatened by the noise as avoid returning to the spot of their origin. However, it has to be done carefully, keeping the following in mind:
- You’ll have to find out whether or not fireworks are allowed in your locality because, in many places, they’re not.
- Avoid using fireworks in dry weather, or it might cause a fire somewhere close by, leading to a disaster.
Trapping unwanted critters is a common method of getting rid of them from your property when nothing else seems to work.
However, since the law protects the turkey vultures, it would be best if you contact your local animal control service beforehand for guidance. They will instruct you on the technicalities of the process (which trap to buy, which bait to use, etc.).
Additionally, once you’ve caught the birds, they will take them off your hands and will relocate them safely to a distant place.
Can you prevent turkey vultures from frequenting on your property?
While all the objects and devices mentioned above can be helpful to keep turkey vultures away, wouldn’t it be better if you could prevent them from coming altogether?
We’re not saying that you can control whether or not these vultures your yard, but there are things you can do to make your yard unappealing to them. Keep reading to learn about these tips and tricks:
Proper garbage disposal is essential
All of us can agree that food is the key factor that drives any animal or bird to your yard; turkey vultures are no exception. And since human garbage is a large part of their diet, your garbage can certainly attract them to your property.
However, if you dispose of your garbage regularly and properly, they will have nothing to lure them in.
Any carcass on your property should be dealt with immediately
Just like all the vulture species, the Turkey vultures are scavengers as well. This is why dead carcasses of any animal or bird on or around your property can instantly attract them there.
And if these birds have seen a carcass around your house, they might keep returning, hoping to find more. If you want to prevent that from happening, keep an eye out for any roadkill nearby, and dispose of them immediately. You can also consult local wildlife removal services for assistance.
Frequently asked questions
Do turkey vultures have a good sense of smell?
Yes. Turkey vultures have the largest olfactory system in the entire avian world and have an exceptional sense of smell. These birds can smell carrion from over a mile away, which is impressive even among the predatory birds.
Is it legal to kill turkey vultures?
No. Turkey Vultures are federally protected in the United States. It means that killing them or even hurting them is illegal and can be seen as a punishable crime. This is why we emphasize using humane ways of drawing them away.
Are turkey vultures and black vultures the same?
No. Although turkey vultures and black vultures are both members of the New World Vulture family, they are two different species. Black vultures have black plumage, as their name suggests, with a stocky body and long legs. Their face is black as well. On the other hand, turkey vultures have a red head, dark brown plumage, slender body, and shorter legs than the former.
Conclusion: how to get rid of Turkey Vultures?
Although turkey Vultures are Nature’s own garbage control services, having their roost on your property can be troublesome for many.
If you have been struggling to get rid of these birds, there are many humane measures you can take to keep them away. If you go through this article carefully, you will have many alternatives to drive these scavengers away at your disposal.