Turkey Vulture sightings

by Rick, Kaspar P, Cassie, Tom, Hilda A, Janie L, Anne-Remy J
(Norfolk County, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto, Etobicoke, Pickering)

Turkey Vulture in flight

Turkey Vulture in flight

Rick wrote to say ... I saw a turkey vulture today, on Norfolk County Rd. 23 around noon. I was surprised to see it so early in the season. The bird was feeding at the side of the road and appeared to be in good health.

Kaspar P wrote to report ... on the last day of March, at my home on Concession 2 Rd. outside Niagara on the Lake, as I stepped out from my house a group of approximately 10 - 16 turkey vultures seemed startled by my appearance and arose en masse from the many large trees on my property. They then proceeded as a group to circle at tree-top level, riding the breeze easily, individually swinging around in a circle to return to the breeze, continuing this right over my head for about 5 minutes. I thought they were a species of hawk, but didn't know of any such around here and of that size - these birds were HUGE !!! They seemed to want to hover and wait me out, and though none came any lower than the treetops I had the feeling they were holding a territory. Around my area there is often roadkill, and dead cats are very common, one on the edge of the road on the far side from my house, which may have been their goal (it may be gone now, I'll check). I went about my work ... and the group of vultures slowly diminished, individuals seemingly flying off, and a half hour later they were all gone.

Cassie from Toronto wrote to say ... my friend and I were walking home from Parkway Mall (Victoria Park and Ellesmere) along Combermere Dr when we saw a huge black bird circling. It flew off to the west into the park system behind Victoria Park Collegiate. We cut through on the path to go home that way and noticed a woman taking a picture of something as she stood on the track. We looked around and then spotted, up on an old unused telephone pole, that same (we assume) huge black bird. It had a reddish coloured head with no feathers and we had no idea what it was but boy was it huge! The woman left and since we had no camera we stuck around and tried to really observe this amazing bird. It sat on the pole for quite a while facing away from us and then turned to face us when it shook itself out and preened a bit. We saw a dead squirrel on the ground and figured maybe it had been eating or wanted to. But it never flew down to the squirrel carcass and just eventually flew away to the school. The wingspan was huge. I read online it could be up to 6 feet and it sure looked like that. First time we have ever seen such a bird. Lately we've been hearing a 'new' call in the neighbourhood which we thought was either a Red Shouldered Hawk or a Blue Jay mimicking one. We wonder now if maybe it was a call of a turkey vulture like this one but haven't found a call online to compare it. It seems they can fly up to 50-60 miles so maybe the one we saw has been seen by other too.
Tom from Toronto said ... sighting in Etobicoke near Rathburn Rd. & Ravencrest Dr. April 18 at 6:45pm. Saw a very large magnificent black bird with red beak and a bit of yellow flying / gliding low (20’ or so) over my back yard at 6:45 pm; while my son was BBQ smoking dinner. Did not know what it was until I looked up on google to help me identify it. By my estimate it had a body almost 24” with a wing span of at least 4 feet at least. My search request was (large black bird red beak in Ontario) and the resulting picture was of a turkey vulture, exactly what I saw. So there you have it, very cool indeed. We do have a ravine across the street from us so maybe that’s where it may be making home.

Hilda A from Etobicoke reported ... I saw dozens flying south in mid Toronto last October at 6:25 pm. Unfortunately they came so quickly that we had no time to take pictures. They were heading south east.

One of our readers wrote ... four Turkey Vultures circled our 31st floor condo today at Yonge and 401 in Toronto. I think they were trying to get at the nest of a Red Tailed Hawk.

Janie L wrote ... I moved into a house in north Pickering and have been seeing several large birds flying around. They appear to look like a Turkey Vulture but not 100% sure as I have never been able to see them up close. The most I have seen are 5 in the air at the same time.

Anne-Remy J from Toronto wrote ... yesterday, my window was darkened in mid-afternoon - as two huge birds flew by. I recognized them by their red heads as turkey vultures. They landed on a half-dead maple in my yard, and it looked like they were checking out nesting sites. Anyway, they didn't seem too impressed and quite quickly flew away. I was surprised to see them in the city and believe they came up the nearby Humber River valley, possibly after their migration flight from the south.

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