Outdoors journal: Migrating turkey vultures

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: October 13, 2011 - 11:57 PM
It's migrating time for American wigeons, northern pintails, American crows, turkey vultures and many other bird species. Daily counts of more than 700 turkey vultures can be expected over Hawk Ridge in Duluth, and we continue to see them soaring over the Minnesota Valley at Le Sueur and St. Peter.

In summer, turkey vultures are residents and nesters in the forested part of Minnesota's northeastern region and along the St. Croix and lower Mississippi and adjacent river valleys. Their range is from southern Canada, all across the 48 states to South America. In the Bahamas I heard the residents call them "crows," and in Ohio and other areas they are sometimes called "buzzards."

Turkey vultures weigh 4 to 5 pounds, have red skin on their heads and dark body feathers resembling those of a turkey. The 6-foot wingspan is held in a shallow V when soaring. There is a two-toned look to the underwings, black wing linings against gray flight feathers. This apt soarer travels wide circles, tilting from side to side, and sustains itself with only occasional slow flaps of its wings. What they are doing is patrolling the area for food.

Turkey vultures seldom kill their own prey. They are on the lookout for road-killed rabbits, raccoons, skunks, dead fish on river banks or any other carrion such as dead livestock. An old carcass can be a messy meal, but the vulture's unfeathered head is beautifully suited to making the most of such a diet, which is how "nature's cleaner upper" keeps alive.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.


Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question