Hazing turkey vultures from rooftop roosts

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) are scavengers that feed almost exclusively on carrion. They are widespread throughout North America (Photo by Nick Todd)

Question: I have 15-20 turkey vultures that have been roosting on my roof. They are congregating and making a mess on my roof and in my yard with their droppings and molted feathers. My house is two stories and the roof is tile so access is difficult. How can I get rid of them? (Lawrence)

Answer: You have different persuasion options available for moving these birds from your roof to a more appropriate roost site. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Raptor Biologist Carie Battistone, these may include repetitive loud noises, motion sensor sprinklers and the use of an effigy (usually a taxidermic preparation or an artificial likeness of a deceased vulture). Since your roof is steep and hard to access, you will have to use caution when placing anything on the roof. If all else fails, you may want to call Wildlife Services (federal wildlife trappers) to ask for advice or possibly for someone to come out to help you.

Below are several links to articles on deterring vultures from roost sites:

Website for Wildlife Services: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/

Guidelines for Using Effigies to Disperse Nuisance Vulture Roosts: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/research/invasive_wildlife/content/VultureEffigy%20Guidelines-revisedMar2010.pdf

Managing Depredation and Nuisance Problems Caused by Vultures: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/researchreports/report05.pdf

High-grading abalone is illegal and may kill those returned
A game warden on the north coast told me recently that abalone high-grading is as much of a problem as poaching, and that it’s often the legal abalone harvesters who are doing it without even realizing they’re doing something wrong. Now we all know the regs say you can take three, so as long as any smaller abs are returned to rocky crevices before leaving the water, and the diver ends up with the three best abalone they can find, what does it really matter? (Rini R., Fort Bragg)

Answer: High-grading for abalone is when legal-sized abalone are extracted from their crevices or detached from their substrate but then later returned in favor of larger animals. This is not legal or sporting and the law prohibits this largely due to concerns for the health of the animals. Abalone are hemophiliacs and can be difficult to dislodge from their protective crevices or substrate. Any cuts or damage they may sustain while being detached by the ab iron can cause them bleed to death. For this reason, all legal-sized abalone detached are required to be retained by the person who detaches it, up to the three per bag limit. In addition, no undersize abalone may be retained in any person’s possession or under his control. Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.15[d]).

In addition, according to DFG Lt. Dennis McKiver, no person shall take more than 24 abalone during a calendar year (CCR Title 14, section 29.15[c]). If the diver takes three legal-sized abalone and puts them back, those abalone still count toward both the diver’s daily and yearly limit. This means that divers must still record those abalone on their report card so as to not exceed their yearly limit.

If a game warden sees someone take an abalone that is obviously larger than seven inches and the person puts the abalone back, this person has just violated CCR Title 14, section 29.15(d). If that person then doesn’t record the abalone, he is guilty of failing to complete the Abalone Report Card as required. Game wardens on the north coast have written several citations for this, usually to trophy hunters looking for that elusive 10-inch abalone. The wardens try to convince people hunting for trophy abalone to measure them before removing them from rocks.

Shooting doves with a .22?
I have heard from a few friends that a rimfire rifle (.22 lr or mag.) can be used to take doves or Eurasian collared doves since they’re considered small game. Is that correct? If not, what type of firearm is appropriate? (Anonymous)

Answer: Rifles may not be used for the take of doves. Mourning dove and white-wing dove are migratory game and their take is regulated by CCR Title 14, section 507. Only shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns and dogs may be used to take migratory game birds. Eurasian collared doves, spotted doves and ringed turtle doves are non migratory and are therefore covered by CCR T14, section 311, which allows take by pellet rifle, archery and crossbow.

Do river guide boats need to be licensed?
I would like to know if guided drift boats need a California hull sticker. Drift boat guides say they don’t have a motor and so they don’t need one. I would say 95 percent of guide boats on the Trinity River in California don’t have the sticker. What does the law say? (Joe B.)

Answer: The guides are correct. If the boat is without a motor, no CF number is needed.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

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