Large Birds and Vultures

Large Birds and Vultures

There has been a significant increase in the sightings of large birds in Bowie. Often these birds are identified as the American Crow, Black Vulture, and Turkey Vulture. These birds are regularly observed roosting in tall trees or sitting atop houses, sheds and other buildings or structures. Their primary goal is the search for food. They will rip open thin plastic bags and pull garbage from uncovered trash cans and dumpsters. These large birds appear menacing by their size and physical features, but they are not known to attack people.

How can you get rid of them?

  • Eliminate their food sources.
  • Through hazing and harassment. 

Eliminate the Food Source

Most large birds eat decaying and rotting food, which often includes dead animal carcasses and garbage.

To eliminate their food source:

  • Store garbage in hard plastic trash bins.
  • Keep trash cans covered.
  • Place your trash receptacles at the curb on the day of pickup.
  • Keep dumpster doors and lids closed.
  • Report large animal carcasses to Animal Control at 301-809-3002.

Hazing and Harassment 

Black Vulture Vultures are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. To keep birds from roosting in your neighborhood or rooting through the trash, use hazing and harassment techniques.

Here are some suggestions:

Audible deterrents

    • Create a loud noise by banging pots and pans, clapping your hands, sounding a bull horn, use whistles, bells and other loud noise devices.
    • Be cognizant of your neighbors and the community when using audible deterrent devices.

Visual Deterrents

    • Upon sighting large birds, scare them off. Carefully approach waving your arms and yelling at them. Give them an opportunity to fly away.
    • Throw tennis or rubber balls at them.
    • Use Mylar or helium balloons.
    • Shine a red laser pointer at them.
    • If they are on the ground, spray water at them.

Whatever actions are taken to harass and deter the birds, to be effective they must be initiated immediately upon sighting, occur frequently, and be repetitive. These birds are smart and will not be easily deterred.

More information

For more information on nuisance birds, contact the Animal Control Office at 301-809-3002, email, or visit the following websites: