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Wildlife Spotlight: Turkey Vulture

Not your average turkey, the turkey vulture is a large dark feathered bird that can be seen scavenging around the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. With massive broad wings encasing long fingers and tails that extend past their toes in flight, turkey vultures can be easily spotted as they are larger than most raptors, measuring 25-32” in length with a 70” wingspan.
​Similar to a wild turkey, the turkey vulture has a mix of long, dark feathers and featherless heads that are a reddish color. These scavengers mainly feast on carrion and rely on their heightened sense of smell to locate their next meal. Due to the lack of vocal organs, turkey vultures are unable to make proper songs like most raptors and birds. Instead, their calls sound like low guttural hisses.
 
These carnivorous birds sometimes appear unsteady or clumsy as they soar overhead, but they are highly efficient fliers who avoid beating their wings as much as possible to save energy. Turkey vultures are most commonly found in open areas and sunny countrysides making the vast space and clear skies of the Landmarks the perfect habitat for these soaring creatures.
 
For more information about native wildlife on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.