Sunday, August 12, 2012

Turkey Vultures in Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley

Fence-post Turkey Vulture, displaying its long claws.  © SB
Eight Turkey Vultures sat on fence posts at the edge of the Qu'Appelle Valley, near Craven, Saskatchewan.

Further down the road, a dozen rose from a tree-filled coulee to soar across the sky.

In all, I saw more than 20 Turkey Vultures that day — a personal record.

Even better, I managed a few clear shots of this impressive, large (and very weird looking) bird.

These carrion-eaters have red featherless heads — good for personal hygiene, and an easy way to identify Turkey Vultures at close range. In the sky, their dark upper and light lower feathers are a better marker, as well as the shape of their wings and tail.

The Vulture Society says Turkey Vultures do well in landscapes with open and wooded areas, but can be found almost anywhere. (The Society also calls Turkey Vultures "gentle and non-aggressive," which will be good to remember if I am lucky enough to again be confronted by so many.)

Turkey Vultures: Eight on posts, two on the ground.   © SB

Turkey vultures: 10 flying over the trees.  © SB

Turkey Vulture, wings spread in flight.    © SB  

What are these?  Turkey Vultures
Location: Along Route #99 through the Qu'Appelle Valley, north of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo date: August 10, 2012.  



  1. He he he... personal hygiene. LOVE the shot of them all lined up on the posts! This bird is one that looks a bit better from a distance. :)

  2. It does, doesn't it? I think it's majestic at a distance, but kind of freaky up close... But then, I was afraid of them as a kid and maybe haven't recovered.

  3. Saw one of these birds by a deceased fox on the side of the road coming back from Prince Albert today. Was the first time ever I seen one and wasn't sure they were native to Saskatchewan. Definitely a surprise to see it. Had a body the size of a Raven with the Bald red head.

    1. Considerably bigger than a raven, seems to me! I'm told that their numbers increased here after they decided to substitute abandoned barns for more natural nesting places.


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