Do vultures ever kill?

yellowbell(78728)April 5, 2005

I have an empty field behind my house, and there are always vultures (or hawks?) soaring above it. Well today I let my cat out in the backyard and was out there with him, and I looked up at the top of my roof, and there was this enormous bird hovering right above it. Oh my gosh, was that a freaky site! It reminded me of that mothman movie - hehe. Then it moved and circled the yard a bit, and my cat was just staring at it, his fur all puffed up. I ran in the house, and I was afraid it was going to attack my cat, but then it flew off. Is this probably a vulture and not a hawk? Do vultures ever attack small animals or just feed off of dead stuff? It appeared to be all black.

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Sorry, I didn't see that someone else had posted about vultures until I submitted my question.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 4:07PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Yellowbell, are you sure it was a vulture?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 6:00PM
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lyn_r(z6 OH)

Sounds like it could have been a hawk. I have seen them kill full grown rabbits in our yard.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 3:00AM
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I looked up pictures of hawks, and all the ones I saw looked brown. The bird in the air looked black, and it was really ugly looking too. I noticed that there has been a stray cat missing for a couple weeks now that used to hang around next door. Maybe it died nearby and the vulture was looking for it??

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 8:16AM
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WiValerie(z4 WI)

Most likely the bird you describe is a turkey vulture. It was taking a look at your pet. Turkey vultures eat carrion, dead decomposing meat. They will circle over an area where an animal is in the process of dying waiting for a feast. These birds will eat roadkill right along the highway and sometimes get hit by cars because they fly too close to the road.
The chance that this bird would attack your healthy pet are slim to none. They are looking for injured, diseased or dying animals. VAL

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 9:16AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I'm not sure where you're located. I'm in central Indiana. The way I tell if it's a turkey vulture and it's far up, is if it's black with white markings on it. Was it's head naked? Do you have some binoculars? I'd be lost without mine. I know vultures only eat dead animals, but it is still scary to have them around your pets!
Coopers hawks are dark, but I wouldn't say they were ugly. Maybe you could do an internet search for some better pictures?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 10:25AM
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Jenny_J(zone 9 texas)

Well, I know that buzzards will attack live animals (from what I hear...luckily I haven't witnessed it). Apparently, they'll attack just-born baby calves.

I don't know what the difference between a buzzard and the other types of birds discussed is though.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 11:20AM
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Is a buzzard the same thing as a vulture? I can't really tell you what its head looked like because I was so surprised and startled, and then freaked out to really take a good look. ha ha! It seemed like it was looking at me, and then it moved closer to my cat. Even if I had binoculars, I wouldn't be able to get a good look at it again unless it flies over our house, which is rare. It has a buddy that it hangs out with in the field.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 12:11PM
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I have many Turkey vultures by me, they usually only eat old roadkill. They circle and sniff the air currents, never saw one huver.

An eagle would eat a cat in a heart beat, if hungry. They are black as adults.

Found what I think is red tail hawk feathers, something ate it. Never left a bone just a large area full of feathers. Thought it might of got ambushed while eating by a fox of coyote.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 2:56PM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

A vulture's claws aren't strong enough to grasp and kill.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 4:00PM
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Depends on whether it is a black vulture or a turkey vulture, as I understand it now. The TV's are pretty peaceful, but the BV's can be quite aggressive.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 12:43PM
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Here in VA, Black Vultures have been known to attack & kill newborn lambs & calves. There's been more than one stir by farmers to allow killing them, but they haven't succeeded yet.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 5:52PM
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You're right - in fact, there's even an article on the internet about them doing that in Texas too.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 8:17AM
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Here's an article about vultures that mentions that sort of thing. It only talks about black vultures being that aggressive. Thank God I've only got turkey vultures around here where I live. As far as I know, they haven't shown any interest in my pets. And as far as I can remember, I haven't ever had one land in the trees in or next to the fenced-in yard. They seem to avoid close contact with people, unless there's a dead animal for them to eat.

Here is a link that might be useful: vultures

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 2:50PM
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catsmom6(z4 NE NY)

You ran into the house and left your kitty to fend for itself? Aaaww

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 7:01PM
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