Why Are Vultures Hanging Around My House?

Odds are that vultures sensed a carcass around your place and are actively looking for it.

Or perhaps, there are air updrafts nearby.

Which means, vultures are merely migrating through the area.

There is also a slight chance that vultures may be taking a break between their meals.

That aside, vultures tend to linger on a single spot for long periods.

So, you may be curious:

Why Do Vultures Hang Around?

Mostly because they are waiting for the dead.

While that does sound a bit comical. 

Nevertheless, it’s true

That said, vultures may be hanging around for the following reasons:

1. Smelling The Dead

The new-world vultures are native to the Americas.

These raptors have great eyesight and extremely sensitive olfactory nerves. 

New-world vultures can smell a carcass from miles away.

But unless a new-world vulture gets a whiff of a dead body, it does not become airborne.

Therefore, these vultures sit idly, killing time before they can smell a carcass.

However, sometimes these birds cannot smell carrion for long periods.

In such a case, 

Vultures do take small flights to catch the scent of a dead animal. 

For instance, king vultures can fly thousands of miles above sea level.

However, they usually stay on forest floors.

Even if they take flights, they usually stay within 1000-feet from the ground.

Eventually, these birds sense the decay gases and move straight to the dead body.

2. Looking For Scavengers

The old-world vultures reside in Euroasia and have excellent eyesight.

However, they lack the ability to smell.

Therefore, these raptors rely solely on their vision to find carrion. 

However, that also means that these birds may be unable to find hidden dead bodies.

But to compensate for this adaptation, 

Vultures lacking the sense of smell, look for other scavengers rather than finding carcasses.

A common example is black vultures. 

Despite being New-world vultures, black vultures lack the ability to smell.

And so, they prefer living in proximity with turkey vultures. 

Black vultures hang around waiting for turkey vultures to make a move. 

As soon as these turkey vultures smell a dead animal, they move towards the site and black vultures follow them almost religiously.

Thereby, black vultures are almost always found scavenging alongside turkey vultures.

3. Waiting For The Dead To Rot

Vultures are quite cautious birds.

They don’t approach a dead body until they are sure it’s indeed dead.


Most vultures simply observe a carcass for about 2-8 hours.

However, sometimes they are hanging around a dead body because they cannot open it.

This is most common around elephant carcasses that are extremely hard to open.

So, vultures will have two options:

  1. Wait for the carcass to rot enough to soften down.
  2. Wait until some other scavengers like hyenas open the hide for them.

Consequently, vultures often sit idly around a dead body.

In the majority of such cases, the large dead body is approached by another scavenger before natural decay even sets in.

4. Nesting

Unlike other birds, vultures form rather crude nests. 

Sometimes it’s just a few eggs on the ground. 

However, they need to incubate those birds and keep a careful eye.

So, if vultures are hanging around a place, they may be nesting. 

5. Curiosity

Vultures are mostly associated with only greed and death.

But if one comes to truly appreciate these creatures, he may learn that vultures are masters at what they do.

Their intellect and social abilities are often overlooked.


Vultures may be hanging around out of sheer curiosity and nothing sinister. 

6. Social Gatherings

Vultures are social birds that live in large families. 

They are extremely protective of their young ones.

In fact, some vulture species may feed their babies through regurgitation for about 8 months, well after they have fledged.

So, perhaps they hang out as a family. 

Besides, hundreds of vultures gather every night to roost together in rock crevices. 

Also, vultures even forage in groups, typically of 4-8 birds.

Check out my article – Why do Vultures circle?

That reminds me, 

Do you know what is the most googled question about vultures?

It’s to know:

What Is a Group Of Vultures Called?

Like all other birds, a group of vultures can generally be referred to as a “Flock”

However, a flock of vultures is named differently depending on what vultures are doing.


I assure you, it’s never a “murder” of vultures. 

Now, a group of vultures sitting in trees or on the ground is called a “Committee of Vultures”.

However, this term is interchangeable with two more terms, a “Venue of vultures” or a “Volt of vultures”.

Since raptors fly through circling in thermals.

A group of flying raptors seems as if dancing in rhythm like tea boils in a kettle.

So, a group of flying raptors is termed as a “Kettle”.

By extension, 

If a group of vultures is flying, it is called a “Kettle of Vultures”.

Kettle of vultures is most seen when vultures are migrating.

But if a group of vultures is feeding onto a carcass, then it is called a “Wake of Vultures”.

However, the word “buzzard” is often used for vultures.

But, a group of buzzards is called a “Wake of buzzards”, regardless the vultures are feeding or not.  

Plenty of terms right!

If there is a committee of vultures nearby, you may be wondering:

Why Are There So Many Vultures Around My House?

Why Are There So Many Vultures Around My House?

Are they dangerous to be around your house?

They are actually not dangerous – in face vultures are pretty harmless

I talk about this in detail in my article which you can check out Are vultures dangerous?

Do you have pets like a cat or dog?

I understand you would be worried for their safety

You don’t want the vultures to come and attack your pet

Here’s the good news though

They won’t attack your pet?


Because vultures don’t eat live animals

Let alone eat, they won’t even attack your dog!

Don’t worry, you’re safe too as vultures don’t attack humans too

Anyways let’s look at the following reasons why there are many vultures around your house

1. Presence Of a Carcass

Certain vultures can smell decaying gases, therefore, they can tell if there is a dead body around.

And if you have never seen vultures around before, then:

Odds are there is a dead body around your place and vultures are here to feast.

The only way to confirm if they are here for scavenging is to look for the source.

So, you need to search for the carcass. 

I suggest you:

  1. Smell for anything rotting.
  2. Otherwise, look in the spot where vultures are sitting or flying around.
  3. After confirming the dead body, don’t move it on your own as it may be infected.
  4. Either call the wildlife services for help or wait for the vultures to eat their food.

I mostly recommend letting vultures finish their business. 

However, if the smell is too putrid and pungent, then you may need to remove the carcass.

Again, call for wildlife experts instead of doing this job on your own.

2. Full Stomach

Since vultures thrive primarily on the dead.

They don’t know exactly when the next food will be available. 

On finding a carcass, vultures tend to over-eat filling their crops.

In fact, they eat so much that a vulture may be unable to fly, until the food digests.

So, if they are threatened during their feast, they need to throw up before taking to flight.

Which is why most vultures lay resting around a dead body well after they have eaten it. 

Perhaps, vultures have already eaten the dead body around your place, and are now simply resting to digest it.

3. Migration

Vultures migrate to warmer regions as the seasons change

If there are thousands of vultures overhead, then they may be migrating.

In such a case, if there are vultures hanging around your place, they may simply be passing through your area. 

4. Loss Of Habitat 

Perhaps, the vultures are around your place because something caused them to move there.

This most commonly happens when human activity causes vultures to lose their habitat.

Several such cases have been reported. 

In one such case, hundreds of vultures started to roost on human houses, when construction in Orange County led these raptors to move further south. 

The relocation has been a laborious task as vultures are protected under federal law.

5. Nesting

Unlike other birds, vultures don’t build much of a nest. 

Some vultures dig a shallow earth cavity to lay eggs, but most simply lay their eggs on flat grounds.

So, there is not much to look for to confirm if there is a vulture nest.

If you live at the edge of some woodland, then perhaps vultures are nesting around your place.

In this situation, moving the vultures will be illegal.

6. Others

Though unlikely, vultures may be hanging around your house for the following reasons:

  1. Vultures regularly take sunbaths in the morning. So, if you live in a rather isolated and open space. Then mayhaps, vultures are sitting on your rooftop to take that sunbath.
  2. Perhaps, vultures find you interesting. So, they may be here to fulfill their curiosity.
  3. Vultures fly through gliding on thermals. Therefore, they may be around your place because it is the nearest air updraft for flying high.

Since global warming is changing ocean currents as well as wind directions.

Therefore, there may be thermals forming where there was no wind before.

This also explains the presence of vultures in places they were never seen before.

But I am not sure if there is new thermal around your place.

You see if I were to guess I would say it’s the pandemic catching on to you.

With the way with lockdowns and restrictions, we are noticing things we never noticed before.

So, perhaps vultures were always around your house and you are only noticing them now.

If there are vultures around your area 

You may be wondering..

Are Vultures Good To Have Around?

From the ecological perspective, surely yes. 

However, they are not the most aesthetic creatures to look upon.

Let’s do this the old fashion way:

Pros Cons
Nature’s Clean-Up Crew  

They purge the environment of diseases and infections.

Without vultures, there will be a new pandemic every year or so.

Aesthetic Beauty

They are not considered the most beautiful of birds. 

Though magnificent in their own way, still watching someone eat a dead body doesn’t seem much of a view.


Ensure that nutrients don’t get locked away in dead bodies.

Association to Dead

Since vultures eat dead bodies as their staple diet, therefore they are considered ominous sight.

Neutralize Infections

Kill of pathogens on their body through corrosive stomach acids, immunity, as well as urohyrdosis (urinating on themselves to sanitize their feet).


Eating the dead and urinating on themselves causes the vultures to smell all the time.

Fewer Rodents

The presence of vultures deters rodents and other pests in the area as vultures often eat such animals.

This may increase health benefits for surrounding areas.

Mobility Restrictions

The presence of vultures can restrict human mobility. 

Mostly because there is nothing much one can do, once these birds settle in or start a nest.

Table 1: Pros and Cons of Having Vultures Around.

Now, if you want vultures around your place is entirely based on your preferences.

But what if you don’t want vultures around your place 

How do you remove them?

Let’s find out..

How Can I Remove Vultures From My Place?

I suggest you call in your local wildlife services,

You see, vultures are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. And so, it is illegal to capture, harm, poison, or shoot a vulture.

But if you simply call in wildlife experts early on vulture settlement, they will legally move the birds for you, or evaluate the situation for you. 

Otherwise, you can deter vultures through trivial means, by:

  1. Hanging shiny objects around your house. 
  2. Installing roosting spikes on walls and rooflines.
  3. Setting up a noise-causing situation like windchimes.
  4. Fitting orange wiring around your place.
  5. Removing dead animals as soon as possible.

Wrapping Up

If there are vultures hanging around then there is a strong possibility of a dead body around.

Otherwise, vultures may be nesting, roosting, or simply migrating through the area.

Sometimes vultures hang around a human house because they have lost their habitat.

Other times, because they are curious or are taking a sunbath.

Whether you like having vultures around is your own choice, however, vultures are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem.

Related article you may find interesting about vultures – Why do vultures spread their wings?


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