Buzzards

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Anonymous

A point of clarification (IF my assumptions are correct): I think the folks that posted about "Mexican buzzards" are really referring to "Crested Caracaras", also known as Mexican eagles. I believe they are the national bird of Mexico and are the bird depicted on the Mexican flag. They are members of the falcon or eagle family and are aggressive and opportunistic carnivores --- their diet is NOT limited to carion as with true buzzards and vultures. I see a lot of Caracaras in areas where folks hunt geese here along the southeast Texas coast, as they quickly dispatch wounded geese that have been marginally hit by pellets and then flown or sailed far away to land. I don't have any first hand knowledge of them harassing or attacking newborn calves, or calves actually in the birthing process. Also, I think that about 10 or 20 years ago Caracaras were added to the endangered species list, which makes more severe the implications of shooting one, although I really don't know how in hell they could be considered to be endangered these days, with as many as there are in Texas. Nevertheless, for you folks in Texas that feel compelled to shoot them if they are harming newborn calves, etc. keep in mind that their are just a very few birds that are actually legal to kill. If you must kill them (and I am not suggesting or encouraging you to do so) the SSS rule seems to be appropriate --- shoot, shovel and shut-up.
 
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Anonymous

Thanks for the info Arnold. I wanted to find out if that's the same birds that I've had trouble with, so I did a Google search for "Crested Caracaras" and found some pictures of them, but I haven't seen any of those around here. It took me some time, but I finally found a picture of the birds that I've been calling "Mexican buzzards" and they're really called "Black Vulture". I found a couple pictures of them at <A HREF="http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i3260id.html" TARGET="_blank">www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i3260id.html</A> and <A HREF="http://www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/b_vulture.php" TARGET="_blank">www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/b_vulture.php</A> has more info about them, including their diet . They were really bad here several years ago. I've seen hundreds of them on the ground among my herd while the cows were lying around resting in the afternoons. For the most part the cattle paid them no mind, occasionally just hooking at one that came close enough. The birds weren't bothering them at the time, just waiting around for an opportunity to get one that couldn't defend itself. We figure they'd kill a person as well if the person was unconsious or trapped so that he couldn't fight them off! Thank goodness there's not so many of them around here now. Maybe a lot of the neighbors practiced the SSS rule around here :)
 
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Anonymous

A buzzard is a hawk, like Red Tailed Hawk. I’m not sure when we all started calling vultures buzzards but everyone does it. A hawk is not large enough to take down anything much larger that a jack rabbit. A vulture, on the other hand will eat anything any size as long as it’s incapacitated. All of these are protected, as all birds of prey are by the federal government. (Big fine) I believe a cow caving would appear incapacitated. I think people should do whatever it takes to protect life and property. This is however, a gray area. Just don’t advertise about it.

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Anonymous

I believe that if you contacted you local state wildlife officer you can get a permit to shoot about anything that is on destroying property your farm, ranch or hurting your live stock. Here in IN you can shoot deer 24/7 if they are eating your crops of tearing up fence along with other critters just as long as you call the state first. In some cases you can even get money for the damage they have done also.
 
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Anonymous

we've always called them mexican buzzards, too. they look like regular buzzards but have some white on them and are way more aggressive. usually if a cow has a calf & is able to get up there's no problem. if for some reason a cow is down (doesn't even have to be during calving), the mexican buzzards will attack her rear and head (eyes, namely) if she is unable to swing her head & defend herself.

a couple of years ago i had an old scramble heifer who at the end of her pregnancy with the combined weight of the calves (we found out when she calved it was twins) and being older, she couldn't get up on her own. i found that if i would get to her before she tried to get up too many times, i could push as she rose & she could get up so we would help her a couple of times a day. after calving, i suppose with the exertion of labor, she was too tired to get up even with my help. i needed to run to town for some reason and was a little wary of leaving her down, afraid of a possible mexican buzzard attack. the solution: our heeler hates buzzards so i took the four-wheeler, parked it about 10 feet from the cow & tied the dog to it. when i got back, everything was safe & sound & after the rest & losing some of the weight we were able to get her back up. (& yes, she did make a trip to the sale barn after that). luckily the isn't a problem we encounter very often. it would kind of make a long day going around pushing up 150 cows a couple of times a day! kind of the opposite of cow-tipping i guess.
 

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