Monday, June 6, 2011

Turkey Vultures March Migration to Northern Illinois

Turkey Vultures roost in their favorite tree, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 4/9/2011.
The first Turkey Vultures (Above) began to return to Rock Cut State Park in late March, and by April I can almost gaurantee that one could spot at least one (but many times a flock of 6-10) sitting in their favorite group of trees in one of the picnic areas on the southeast side of Pierce Lake. They like to sit high in branches near the top of tall trees and periodically cruise in circles looking for the oppurtunistic carrion that might be left somewhere. They are fairly common and easy to spot with their hulking dark brown body (26" long with a wingspan of almost 6 feet) and bony naked red head. Their bills hook down into a whitish curved point (Below) - which is good for carving or gnawing flesh off of the carcass.
A good look at a Turkey Vulture's bony red head and hooked bill,
Rock Cut State Park; 4/9/2011.
When they are soaring in the sky, you can differentiate them from most other raptors by the way they hold their wings up into a V-position, instead of spread flat like a hawk, falcon or eagle.


A Turkey Vulture cruising the sky searching for a cheap meal, Rock Cut State Park; 4/9/2011.
This Turkey Vulture glided right over the top of me while I was hiking through
the prairie section of Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve. I liked how its left
 wing glowed in the late afternoon sun, Rockford, IL; 4/11/2011.
During the summer months, Turkey Vultures can be found basically throughout the entire U.S. and Mexico as well as into the southern portions of Canada. During Winter they will pretty much migrate into the southeast corner of the U.S. and along the California Pacific Coastline and into Mexico and Central America.

A Turkey Vulture eyeing a picnic at Rock Cut State Park, Il; 4/9/2011.
This Turkey Vulture (Above) was staring at a young couple sunning on a blanket in a picnic area at Rock Cut State Park. Every few minutes, it would take off flying and slowly circle the couple, then perch on the same branch above them. I jokingly asked the coule if they were alive because vultures were circling overhead. They replied that after a while they were feeling a bit nervous, because it started with just the one and soon a half dozen other vultures joined it - all perched in the tree above where the couple was lying. Perhaps the vultures thought that the couple lying on the ground for such a long time was on the verge of dying and they were waiting for their meal to expire.  Ah, yes... good times at Rock Cut State Park.

18 comments:

~Val said...

They look like they are wearing hoods. The sun coming through the wings almost makes this bird pretty. Your story of them eyeing the napping couple creeps me out...

Anonymous said...

We spotted 6 today 4/28/13 in Volo il right behind Fratellos restaurant.
Wow what an experience.
-Rhonda R

Heather said...

Saw three in Bull Valley on Ridge Road, feeding on a deer carcass. Glad to see them with my husband present, he finally believes that's what I saw back in April!

Anonymous said...

My husband spotted one in St Charles IL this past week. What a site!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I spotted 2 of them on Rena Road in Antioch yesterday. They were hovering over us as if they were contemplating whether or not we would be lunch.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I spotted two feasting on a deer carcass in Country Club Hills in the Forest Preserve area off Flossmoor Rd. I went back later just after dark and they were roosted on the roof of the home next to the carcass just waiting to finish off their meal in the morning. Amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

Me and my husband spotted 23 of them in a tree on McKinley street in steger Illinois today

Anonymous said...

There were 2 eating a dead fluffy animal in the grass of a large yard off Riverside Drive in Johnsburg/McHenry area. I've never seen them before and turned around and drove past them several times to get a good look. Was a fun surprise!

Anonymous said...

Observed 8-10 grouped together in a sparse residential subdivision in Plainfield-Will County, May 14, 2016.
Flight style looks clumsy at times, but on a windy day like that, so efficient-- ingenious!

Anonymous said...

just saw two in Addison, unfortunatley one was feeding om a dead cat

Steven Givhan said...

To my surprise a rather large one scared the you know what out of my neighbors dog today in Barrington Inverness

Anonymous said...

Had 2 in our back yard in Gurnee feasting on the carcass of a baby opossum. Made the hawk next to them look like a sparrow!

Anonymous said...

Spotted one at the side of the road this morning in South Barrington on Route 59 a bit north of Rt 72.

Tom Burke said...

Saw one eating road kill alongside Rt 14 in the Barrington area between Hart Road and Cuba Road today.

Tom Burke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vincent Honn said...

They hang out in large groups here in Yorkville,Illinois at the Dam ,Fox River

Anonymous said...

Spotted one today in Joliet IL

Kerri said...

I saw two yesterday in Crystal Lake, near the Pingree Metra Station. It was incredible to see them although I was glad I was not close enough to them to see what they were eating!