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Vultures play an important role in ecosystems by cleaning up animal carcasses, but vultures also cause problems in both rural and urban settings. In recent years, vulture populations have increased as these adaptable birds have adjusted to higher levels of human activity. As a result, the birds are coming into ever more conflict with people.
Vultures often damage residential and business property. Their droppings can kill trees and create unsanitary and unsafe working conditions at power plants, refineries, and communication towers. Their aggressiveness unsettles park users and homeowners. Vultures harass and kill livestock. In flight, they can be a danger to aircraft.
As complaints multiply, pressure grows on wildlife biologists to develop safe, effective ways to manage vulture populations that will both maintain healthy numbers of birds and reduce conflicts and damage. The National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC)_the research arm of the Federal Government’s Wildlife Services (WS) program_is hard at work on America’s “vulture problem.” This leaflet describes how NWRC investigators are using science-based approaches to address human–vulture conflicts.