U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

February 2002


Published in the J. Raptor Res. 36 (l):45-50


Communication towers provide attractive roost sites for Black (Coragyps atratus) and Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura). The birds’ roosting activity creates problems, however, for tower operators, nearby businesses, and adjacent homeowners. To alleviate these problems, at six sites in northern Florida we evaluated the effectiveness of suspending vulture carcasses or taxidermic effigies from towers to disperse vulture roosts. In each case, vulture numbers decreased immediately after installation of the stimulus, and roosts declined 93-100% within nine days. The effect was independent of the composition of the roost and occurred regardless of which vulture species was used as the carcass or effigy. At one site, the roost was substantially reduced using a commercial plastic goose decoy painted to resemble a Turkey Vulture. At three sites, the deterrent effect persisted up to 5 mo even after the carcass or effigy was removed from the tower. Hanging a vulture carcass, taxidermic effigy, or even an artificial decoy, from a tower creates an unfavorable roosting environment for vultures and offers a simple, effective means to manage problem-roost situations.