Turkey Vultures, also known as “Buzzards,” are NOT considered a bird of prey. They are large birds with long broad wings and have red, unfeathered heads that are usually not visible during flight. When soaring, wings are held in a shallow V shape, wing tips curve upward and appear silvery. Lacking the ability to vocalize, vultures grunt or hiss to communicate. Instead of building nests, eggs are laid on bare ground, sometimes in caves or decaying tree stumps, they do not use any nest material.
They are scavengers, they eat carrion (dead animals), located by sight or smell while soaring, they are often seen feeding on road kill.
We acquired our first Turkey Vulture as an adult in 2004. It has permanent wing damage, likely a result of being hit by a car. The second Turkey Vulture was acquired as an adult in 2011. It was from Jackson, Michigan and has permanent gunshot damage in its wing. With their permanent injuries, neither of these birds are able to survive in the wild.
Turkey Vultures are found throughout the United States and Mexico. They migrate to southern states and Central America during winter months.