Critter Corner - Turkey
DID YOU KNOW:
The turkey vulture is closely related to the California condor.
These two birds, along with the black vulture, are grouped by
scientists in the same classification as storks and flamingos.
The turkey vulture's scientific name means cleanser, which
describes their role in nature. They eat carrion (animals
that are already dead). Turkey vultures clean up road kill
and other rotting carcasses that contain diseases that could
make humans or their pets sick.
Turkey vultures do not build nests. Instead a mated pair
will lay their eggs on the ground, a rock ledge, a cave or in a
hollow tree. The female lays two eggs, and both parents
incubate them until they hatch in about a month. Three
months after hatching, the young vultures are ready to fly.
They may live more than 20 years.
Turkey vultures are found in
almost every habitat in
America. Turkey vultures live in large groups called
roosts. The current generation and their future
generations will use the same roost for many years. They
live and work together -- when a large feast is located, they even communicate with
their neighbors in another roost. Turkey
vultures are often seen soaring together as they search for
Turkey vultures' strong,
sharp beaks, which are used for tearing meat, make great
weapons. Vultures have a unique way to protect themselves
-- they vomit! Because of its strong stomach acids, a
vulture's vomit smells horrible. The predator thinks that
the vulture probably won't taste good if it smells so bad.
Check out both
of Lakeside's turkey vultures:
To learn more about
(Photo credits: Portrait of
Turkey vulture, Missouri Department of Conservation; Soaring
Vulture, US Geological Survey [A. Wilson, photographer], Vulture
roost from Montana Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Parks
[John Carlson, photographer] )