turkey vultures

Roger

Active Member
Recollecting the few birds that stayed over last winter, have there been any TUVU sightings above the rim this season?
 

tshedwall

Member
Recollecting the few birds that stayed over last winter, have there been any TUVU sightings above the rim this season?
Yes, there have been several reports in November and December from Kachina/Mountainaire and Lake Mary Road. Ron and Glo saw one out East at the golf course last weekend. I saw one near Kachina on Monday December 23rd. I don’t think I’ve seen more than two at a time this year.
 

tshedwall

Member
There have been a couple more Turkey Vulture sightings above the rim this week: Walnut Canyon Lakes, Cosnino, and Mormon Lake. I got some photos of this bird at Walnut Canyon Lakes today, 1-15-2020. It has a missing wing feather, a damaged wing feather, and maybe a couple missing tail feathers. Something to watch for if anyone wants to figure out if there is more than one bird in the area this year.IMG_4692 (2).JPGIMG_4694 (2).JPG
 

Roger

Active Member
I wonder what they live on up there and why they prefer it to the warmer lowlands. It must be enough to mitigate the increased energy requirements of the low temps.
 

tshedwall

Member
I wonder what they live on up there and why they prefer it to the warmer lowlands. It must be enough to mitigate the increased energy requirements of the low temps.
Did the elk used to go to lower elevations in the winter? I still see new roadkills every now and then and perhaps there are more successful hunters (and therefore gut piles) at higher elevation in November and December? Maybe there are enough to support a few vultures without much competition.
I saw a Vulture today (1-18-2020) at Kelly Canyon--about three miles by car south of Kachina Village.
 

Roger

Active Member
That seems like a plausible scenario. It has not been a difficult winter (so far) and it probably wouldn't take many elk carcasses to carry a couple of vultures through the period - as long as they didn't have too much competition from eagles and coyotes. Vultures often get first dibs.
 
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