The two species that most concern structures in the South Eastern United States are the American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) and the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura). Vultures are a nuisance and can be hazardous to humans and their pets; they must be handled carefully and they can cause a big disturbance to daily life, but not because the ugly birds make noise or claw things. Since vultures eat rotting meat, they need very strong stomach acid to kill all that bacteria they ingest with their meal. The final digested product has to go somewhere, like your garden, car or house, where family pets or small children can get into it. When large groups of vultures congregate near people’s homes, property damage can occur in the form of tearing of window caulking, roof shingles and vent seals.
A group of vultures has several names; cast, wake, committee, venue, vortex, kettle, or volt. The terms kettle and vortex refer to vultures in flight, while committee, volt, and venue refer to vultures resting in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of feeding vultures. Vultures are major consumers of carrion; they play a vital role in bio-degradation, preventing the spread of life-threatening diseases such as rabies among animals and humans. The vulture’s digestive system contains acids that dissolve anthrax, botulism and cholera bacteria. Of course, this beneficial by-product can also damage your cars finish and is considered hazardous to handle, especially by children.