Vultures picking rubber from cars

April 6, 2010 at 1:27 PM
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MIAMI, April 6 (UPI) -- Officials and workers at Florida's Everglades National Park said vultures have been ripping rubber parts from vehicles parked in the area.

Linda Hyde, who works at the Anhinga Trail gift shop in the park, said the vultures have been picking windshield wipers, door seals, sunroof seals and other parts made from rubber and vinyl from vehicles at the park, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

She said the park's attempts at keeping the vultures away from the cars, including effigies and hanging the carcasses of dead vultures, have not dissuaded the birds from pecking on cars.

Dave Hallac, chief of biological resources for Everglades National Park, said officials are planning to bring in experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center in Gainesville, Fla.

"This puts us in kind of a tough situation. These birds are native and they're protected," Hallac said. "We're looking for ways, without injuring the birds, because that's not what we do here, to keep them from damaging vehicles."

Michael Avery, a USDA Wildlife Services biologist, said the vultures do not seem to be ingesting very much of the rubber.

"It's like they are trying stuff," he said. "It may be more prevalent in younger birds as they are learning to grasp things."

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