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Monday, April 8, 2013

Why You Need an Anti-Vulture Kit in the Everglades

Why You Need an Anti-Vulture Kit in the Everglades

January 3rd, 2013
image-vulture warning sign horizontal
Vulture Warning Sign in the Everglades
Photo by Claudia Miller
Alfred Hitchcock would have been impressed. Migrating vultures, which winter in the Everglades National Park, seem to be reenacting scenes from The Birds. They flock in the parking lots and attack cars, trucks and trailers, feeding their recently developed taste for rubber and vinyl — think windshield wipers, sunroof seals, door seals and anything else they can rip off. While I love going to the Everglades to see the gorgeous egrets, storks and other wading birds, I’ve always been leery of the hulking black vultures with their creepy featherless heads. They linger beside the trails with little fear of humans.
Park rangers have experimented unsuccessfully with different ways to discourage the vandals from destroying vehicles, including hanging road-kill vultures from the trees near the Anhinga Trail. (I’m glad I missed that horror movie tactic!) They’ve also posted signs: “Warning Vultures May Cause Damage to Vehicles.” Now they’ve moved on to more preventative measures, issuing all park visitors “anti-vulture kits” (blue tarps and bungee cords) to cover their vehicles. For frequent visitors, they advise BYOT (bring your own tarp). Ironically, the scavengers aren’t even ripping apart the cars because they are hungry. They typically discard the pieces without eating them. Where’s Tippi Hedren when you need her?

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