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Nuisance Animals: The Black Vulture

Have you ever been called a nuisance? I know that I have – many times, actually!

Nuisance animals are any animals that cause problems to property, structures or even people. Some examples of nuisance animals in our area includes raccoons, coyotes, skunks, bobcats, groundhogs, etc. We are approaching the prime calving season in Ohio, so in this week’s Farm and Forest, I will be talking about the black vulture and its effect on agriculture in our area.

Black vultures, as defined by their name, are completely black with some white patches on the underside of their wingtips. They range in about two feet in length and have a wingspan of just over four feet. In comparison, they are slightly larger than a red-tailed hawk and slightly smaller than a turkey vulture. Black vultures tend to group together and roost in trees close to woodlands, highways, fields or anywhere close to their food source. They are originally from the southern part of North America, but in recent decades they have been moving north. This is why we are beginning to see them more often in Jackson County.

Now you might be asking: “What is the concern for this vulture?” Vultures are vital to the ecosystem by, essentially, being the “sanitation department” of the animal kingdom, cleaning up dead animals to avoid the spread of diseases. However, black vultures can be predatory. One of Jackson County’s biggest agriculture industry products include the production of beef cattle. Black vultures will resort to preying on newborn calves, piglets and lambs. They will fly down and attack the newborn by clawing their eyes and the nose and, as a result, the newborn will then die. After the newborn’s death, the black vulture with begin consuming the animal.

If you are having issues with the black vulture damaging your property, you can apply to the Ohio Division of Wildlife for a permit to kill one black vulture. Once you have killed the vulture, it is advised to hang the dead vulture in the area where you are having issues. The black vulture is known to avoid areas where they have seen their own dead. Once again, please reach out to the Division of Wildlife before killing any black vultures to receive their guidance.

If you are interested in learning more about the black vulture or any other nuisance animal, the Jackson County Farmer’s Club will soon be hosting Marne Titchenell, who is a Wildlife Program Specialist for The Ohio State University Extension. This meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 20 starting at 7 p.m.

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