Question Of The Week: LEGAL Turkey Vulture Deterrents

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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.

Name withheld

This question was originally published in the August 2007 issue of Today’s Facility Manager. Read Elledge’s response here. Share your feedback and suggestions in the LEAVE A COMMENT section below.

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One Response
  1. Jeff Watts says:

    Since no one has answered this yet, I will give you my opinion.

    Due to their status as a protected bird, buzzards cannot be harmed and therefore the best course of action is to exclude them from the area you are trying to protect. There are really three routes you can go when dealing with buzzards. You can try spikes to stop them from landing, electric track to change their behavior or use netting to eliminate access to the protected area. Bird Spikes can be placed around the edges of the area you want to keep the buzzards away from. Use either a plastic spike which is sturdier or a thick/tall steel spike to create an uneven surface that they won’t land on. Standard steel spikes whether they are all metal or metal with a polycarbonate base will be crushed by the buzzards. Their weight and size make for a unique situation. Electric tracks can be placed around the area as well which use a quick jolt that is both humane and effective. It’s akin to using a shock collar on a dog. It will modify their behavior and they will leave the area. You should use a raised electric track for buzzards as the size of their feet may be able to step over some of the lower profile tracks. This is the most affordable and effective method and the one we most often recommend. If you decide to block off the area with netting, you can use a 2” mesh designed to protect property from gulls and larger birds. Use a wire around the outside of the area to hold the net taut, as loose net can be moved aside by large birds for access. If you are protecting a rooftop item such as an AC unit, build a box using poles around the unit and attach netting to the box to prevent the buzzards from landing.

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