Rickert Nature Preserve Birds

Cathartes Aura
Turkey Vulture

These Turkey Vultures are regular visitors to our property each year.  They appear to be nesting in the limestone cliffs on the edge of our property.  I've seen as many as 14 at a time circling above the fields.  They do amazing acrobatics in the air and almost seem to be playing some sort of game of tag.  If you watch them long enough you notice how little they have to flap their wings to stay in the air.  I'd say they are masters of riding the thermals.  After we identified them as carrion feeders my father started throwing the road kill (dead coons, etc) from the highway into the middle of the field below their nests.

  • Wingspan can be 6-feet
  • Featherless red-colored heads
  • Prefers open country, roosts in large congregations in secluded woods.
  • Usually nests on the ground under cover, sometimes in caves. Lays 2 eggs. We're seeing them coming from the small caves.
  • They are carrion feeders that have a very powerful sense of smell.
  • Often feeding in large groups on large items but will eat almost anything.  We believe they communicate with each other when a new source of food is discovered.
  • Known to regurgitate their last meal as a defense mechanism.
  • Locals have been known to shoot these birds due to ignorance.


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