Wisconsin Wildlife > Types of WI Birds | Birding 

Wiscosin Turkey Vultures

by Tanya Rothe


Central WI is filled with many Turkey Vultures soaring through the sky looking for their next tasty meal.  Many people have become frightened by this enormous bird; however, there is nothing to be afraid of.  They are only interested in keeping to themselves and searching for fresh carcasses to feast on.  From a distance, they are sometimes mistaken for an Eagle or Osprey until you see their unique flight pattern.  Turkey vultures fly in large circles with their wings pointing up in a “v” shape.  They are considered scavengers using their sharp sense of smell from high in the sky.


WI Turkey Vultures Photos




Their feathers are a darker brown color and they have a reddish colored head.  The habitat of Wisconsin Turkey Vultures is generally open areas around roadsides and farm fields.  This magnificent bird has such an extreme sense of smell that enables it to be able to find food below a ceiling of treetops without even seeing it ahead of time.  Turkey Vultures have a lot of great stories being told about them including one very interesting tale.  Tibetan Buddhists actually incorporate them into their funeral services.  They have what is called a “Sky Burial,” where they have the turkey vultures consume their dead bringing them into the sky above.



Name: Turkey Vulture

Scientific Name: Cathartes Aura

Measurements: 31 inches long, 4.5 pounds, 70 inch wingspan.

Habitat: Open areas including roadsides and farm fields.

Diet: Fresh including dead carcasses

Behavior: Fly in lower levels with wings held in “v” shape, after breeding times they group themselves in huge flocks.

Reproduction: These Buzzards do not make complete nests (Baby Vultures can be found in hollow logs and abandon sheds); lay up to 3 eggs, 40 Day incubation, 84 day nesting, after breeding the pair will fly together in specific pattern for up to 3 hours.

Predators: Skunks, owls, snakes, and hawks.

Life Expectancy: Up to 16 years in wild, up to 30 years in captivity.

Extra Facts: tend to vomit when stressed or when predators arrive, don’t have voice box, and are usually blind and defenseless as babies. 

Part of Wisconsin it generally resides: Pretty much throughout all of the state. According to this map https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turkeyvulturerange.jpg Turkey Vultures are not in Wisconsin Year Round but only in the summer months.

Video of Baby Turkey Vultures


Turkey_Vultures by LandmanRealty



Loading cover... Drag cover to reposition

Wisconsin Real Estate For Sale

1790818 - Wooded camp/building site with access to lake
1790818 - Wooded camp/building site with access to lake Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Mostly Wooded | Lake Access | Nearby Boat Launch | Camp or Build | Wisconsin Dells Don't miss this gorgeous mostly wooded parcel that gives you lake access to a small fishing lake. Bring the boat (...)

$14,900 $12,900
1743327 - Wooded Building Site with Access to Small Lake!
1743327 - Wooded Building Site with Access to Small Lake! Oxford, Wisconsin

Buildable | Deeded Access | McGinnis Lake | No Motor Lake | Wisconsin Dells Camp or build on this very affordable wooded parcel. Ownership in this lot that is over ...

$7,500 $7,000
Farmhouse for Sale on 20 Acres - Adams County WI
Farmhouse for Sale on 20 Acres - Adams County WI Arkdale, Wisconsin

3 Bedroom Country Home | Near Lake Petenwell & Castle Rock Lake | Abundant Native Wildlife | 20 acres of woods & meadow | Pond | Rolling terrain | All Appliances & China Cabinet included | On the (...)

1763911 - Commercial Building with 4 bdrm home attached
1763911 - Commercial Building with 4 bdrm home attached Friendship, Wisconsin

Commercial Real Estate For Sale | Adams County | 4 Bedroom Home | Near Shopping | High Traffic Location Live where you work! So much potential for this small town commercial building with a 4 (...)