Turkey Vulture

(Cathartes aura)

Arrived at Lakeside Nature Center on October 12, 1997.

This bird was immature when it arrived -- a hatching year bird.  The Turkey Vulture was found in a farm field, surrounded by curious cows, and brought to Lakeside Nature Center.  It was discovered to have an old fracture of the left humerus that healed out of line.  This was a non-correctable injury.  The parent vultures had fed and protected the injured young vulture for at least six weeks while the bones healed.  By October, when turkey vultures migrate south for the winter, this young bird could not fly and therefore could not migrate with the others.  Since the Turkey Vulture can not be released to the wild, authorization to keep it for educational purposes was obtained from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1998.

Natural history notes.

  • This common carrion (dead animal) eater is found throughout North America and is often seen scavenging fields and roadsides for food.

  • Though awkward on the ground, Turkey Vultures are masterful at soaring.

  • They nest in hollow logs, caves and among boulders..

Check out this vulture's picture gallery.

For more information on turkey vultures, check out the Critter Corner entry.