Tricks Of The Trade: LEGAL Turkey Vulture Deterrents

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Turkey Vulture Control

By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM

Published in the August 2007 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Q Have you ever been asked about how to deal with buzzards legally? The birds are federally protected; otherwise, we would have an obvious solution. I have two buildings being summarily damaged by turkey vultures. On one building, they’re eating the caulk from the precast parapet joints. On the other, they appear to be eating the EPDM roof membrane.

I once dealt with a similar situation in the past (birds eating caulk joints) by re-caulking the parapets in two stages: first with a standard (silicone based),flexible caulk that was then covered by a much thicker tape type caulk applied over the softer, more vulnerable joint. I don’t remember what products were used, but it stopped the problem.

A Whether you have a venue of vultures feeding on your caulking or a kettle of vultures circling your property, the value-added features of the turkey vulture are extremely negative. They are social birds, preferring to stay in large flocks and roost in dead trees, cell towers, rooftops, and porch coverings.

legal turkey vulture control options.
The turkey vulture has an average weight of 4 lbs. and a wingspan of up to 6 feet.

These birds are known to attack building rooftops and caulking, as well as other exterior surfaces. It all translates into structural damage and costly repairs.

As a “bonus” to landlords, all vultures are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Under the Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds is unlawful.Therefore, your only options are humane pest control methods.

In my area, one of the most popular methods deployed by large shopping centers, grocery chains, etc. is the use of synthetic voice sounds of birds in distress and predators. It is interesting to see hundreds of birds fighting for roosting space in trees and power lines and not the rooftops. This leads me to believe the alarms do work.

Other methods are available, such as wire, electric shock, or ultrasound. Some of the providers I found include:

Other options also include a visual strobe light that may help to frighten the birds away. These are especially useful in areas where sound pollution can be a problem (schools, hospitals, etc.).

Elledge, facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit Alliance Companies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and is a member of TFM‘s Editorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask The Expert” portion of the magazine’s Web site.

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This expert formerly served as a regular contributor to Facility Executive (formerly Today’s Facility Manager) magazine. His vast knowledge of the facility management profession continues to provide a rich resource for facility managers by way of this online archive.