Turkey vultures damage cars outside Plymouth medical clinic

Turkey vultures damage cars outside Plymouth medical clinic

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Birds are beginning to migrate back to Minnesota with the return of spring, but the arrival of one species has created quite a nuisance in Plymouth.

A group of turkey vultures recently descended upon a medical clinic parking lot, attacking cars and leaving severe damage to windshield wipers and windshields. It’s occurring at the North Clinic, on the south side of 37th Avenue North, between the 15655 and 15700 buildings.

“They need to be removed. I came out and the vultures were on my car,” said North Clinic employee Lena Dizinku, whose windshield wipers were destroyed by the raptors. “So now I have to take my car in on Saturday.”

Clinic employees say even worse, turkey vultures chomped away at the windshield gaskets on several cars.

“They like the rubber, but what they do is chew on it and spit it out,” said Rebecca Fischer, the North Clinic site manager.

The clinic first posted flyers to notify employees of the characteristics of turkey vultures, but then the repeated destruction prompted the office to contact Plymouth Police, the Minnesota DNR, and the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

Raptor Center Executive Director Julia Ponder said the situation is very rare behavior for the species.

“Turkey vultures are really cool birds, they are scavengers, so they are nature’s cleanup crew, when something dies, they clean it up for the rest of us,” said Ponder.

She said black vultures usually cause that kind of destruction in southern regions, but this is unusual for turkey vultures. While the reason for this parking lot attack is unknown, she reminds the public to remember the important role the bird plays in the ecosystem. Ponder said since turkey vultures are migratory birds, they are protected.

“The first choice is to harass them or discourage them from the behavior, if they do have to be removed that requires a permit from USDA wildlife services,” said Ponder.

Ponder said turkey vultures tend to to roost and congregate in groups and are often seen soaring with a wingspan stretching 5 to 6 feet. They are only in Minnesota in the summer, and she says turkey vultures do not build nests but lay eggs directly on the ground, ledge or thicket. But still, it’s too early for turkey vultures to lay eggs, leaving further mystery of why the birds are attacking cars.

The North Clinic is waiting for feedback from the USDA Wildlife agency. Meanwhile, employees are using creative coverings for their windshields and wipers to deter the birds – a true test of patience.

“For two weeks, who would have ever know we would be on vulture patrol?” said Fischer.

via Turkey vultures damage cars outside Plymouth medical clinic.

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