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Buzzards Disturbing Calves and Cattle Producers

When I write this article, I am fixated on the quote “when it rains it pours.” Agriculture in 2019 has been hard for all commodities with excessively hot days, drought, and now predators affecting survival rates of newborn calves. Last week I have received three calls on what producers can do to reduce vulture depredation on newborn calves. Vultures are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and it is unlawful to shoot these pest. However, there are tactics producers can use to deter birds from lingering around their farms and pastures. Tactics such as harassment: loud noises (air horns, gun shots (not at the vultures) horn in your vehicle, etc.)) are most successful ways in deterring birds from perching near your pastures. Other techniques include making an effigy out of black rubber mats that resembles a vulture and hanging it upside in a highly visible area where it can be seen. If this is done in large pastures, it may be necessary to hang several effigies. According to Matt Ondovechik, USDA APHIS Wildlife Biologist in Athens, Georgia, he suggest that staying on top of harassing these birds with loud noises is the most effective at deterring birds from preying on newborn calves. The Athens USDA office does sell pre-made effigies, if you are interested in purchasing please call the USDA office at (706) 546-5637). If you are interested in learning how to make the effigy yourself, please visit this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CBIwEe4s60, the title is called “UK Extension Extension helps livestock producers deter black vultures.” If you have questions, please call the Jasper County Extension Office at 706-468-6479.