Over the years I posted several articles on turkey vultures. (including “Turkey Vulture” on 12-19-2011) I recently took some interesting turkey vulture pictures and decided to share them too.
Leonard noticed a dead ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) in one of the fenced lanes between our pastures – near Lookout CA (Modoc County). Pheasants do not live near us so we have no idea of the origin of this carcass. I think there may be a hunt club several miles away as the crow flies and this was an escapee.
It did not take long before a turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) found the dead pheasant. Turkey vultures use their acute sense of smell to locate carrion. They eat mostly mammals, but do not hesitate to eat any dead fauna, including birds. Turkey vultures, unlike other vultures, almost never attack living prey.
Although several turkey vultures may gather at carrion, usually only one eats at a time. The vulture on the carcass chases off the others, making them wait their turn.
Growing up in Western Pennsylvania pheasants were common around our house and would come right into the yard. I do not know why pheasants do not survive in our area. Leonard and I would enjoy having them in our pastures and yard.