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Illinois Farm Bureau taking action to help farmers to deal with black vultures

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(The Center Square) – Illinois livestock farmers dealing with highly-aggressive black vultures now have the means to fight back.

The Illinois Farm Bureau has secured statewide black vulture depredation permits through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service effective now through March 31, 2025. As migratory birds, black vultures are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and can’t be killed or destroyed without the migratory bird depredation permit.

“Illinois’ black vulture population has increased significantly in recent years, particularly in the southern portion of the state. These birds often prey on young livestock, especially in open pastures, and can create major financial losses for farmers,” IFB President Brian Duncan said.

Tasha Bunting, director of Commodity Programs and Farm Systems with the Illinois Farm Bureau, says black vultures live in southern regions of the state but are expanding their range further north.

“The birds are becoming a bigger issue, they’re pretty aggressive, they’re not like the red-headed turkey vultures, they attack and they are more of a predator than the red-headed birds are,” Bunting said.

Black vultures have a five-foot wingspan and weigh about five pounds. As to why their populations are expanding north, Bunting said the weather may play a part.

“We traditionally have not seen them in Illinois much until the last several years and the flock is continuing to grow,” Bunting. “These milder winters are certainly not encouraging them to move on.”

Approved applicants will be allowed a maximum of three birds, determined after consultation with USDA Wildlife Services. Following the consultation and approval, a state permit will also be provided by IDNR.