Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture is not really a raptor and is probably more closely related to storks than hawks and eagles. Yet, when it is seen in flight, it looks and behaves much as does a raptor, so the vulture is placed here for convenience.

Although common over much of North America, the Turkey Vulture is not common over Kootenay Lake. Indeed, unlike ospreys, eagles and hawks, the vulture makes no use of the waters of the lake; it rides thermals over the ground and scans the open areas for carrion. Indeed, even if there were a rotting fish floating on the surface of the lake, the vulture could not even pick it up for it’s feet are incapable of grasping objects—it must alight on carrion and eat it on the spot.

So, the Turkey Vulture seems to favour the wide open valleys at the ends of the Lake. It frequents the flatland around Creston and has been seen in the Lardeau. There are occasional reports of it between these locations and on the West Arm, but the bird does not seem to find a landscape of water-filled valleys and steep mountain sides felicitous for foraging.

The Turkey Vulture is unrelated to the Turkey, but acquired the name owing the the similarity of the red skin on its head and its dark body feathers.

turkey vultureThe Turkey Vulture soars on thermals looking for carrion. The two-tone look of the wings as seen from below is distinctive.

turkey vultureFor a Turkey Vulture, happiness is a fresh carcass. Doug Thorburn

turkey vultureTwo Turkey Vultures in a tree.
Catherine Aitken

turkey vultureWhen perching, the Turkey Vulture often has its wings spread. With this bird, it is believed to primarily serve as a heat regulator: spreading wings on a sunny day helps warm the bird. Doug Thorburn

turkey vulture on a snag The Turkey Vulture spends a great deal of time in trees cleaning and preening. Presumably, this is a response to wading through carrion when it is eating. Here it is probably drying its wings after a washing.
Catherine Aitken

Information from Wikipedia: Turkey Vulture.

Fraser tartan