We have two different species of vultures as residents here at CCEEC. We have two Turkey Vultures (with the red head in the foreground of the top photo) and one Black Vulture (black head, on the bottom). The larger Turkey Vulture in the coop was shot (which is illegal) while the other two vultures were struck by cars. All three have been kept as residents due to their inability to fly.

The vultures are neighbors with the Common Raven, and have been seen interacting, even passing a feather between the two coops. Vultures are also intelligent birds, and we hide food inside toys or other objects to occupy their time. The larger Turkey Vulture is dominant and often tries to steal food from the other two. When we feed them, we occasionally have to monitor them to ensure everyone gets their fair share.

Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture

Fast Facts

Turkey Vulture: Cathartes aura

Range: Widespread across US during breeding season; migrates to southern states and South America for winter

Habitat: Varies; open woodlend to farmland, frequents areas around roadways

Nest: Far from human disturbance if possible, simple scrape on ledges or leaf litter, hollow logs, or thickets.

Eggs: 1-3, creamy white tinted grey/blue, spotted with purple-brown

Diet: Carrion, mostly of freshly dead mammals

Trivia: Their acute sense of smell helps them detect carrion with just a few parts per million of scent, important as they rarely attack live prey

Black Vulture: Coragyps atratus

Range: Eastern and southern US down through Mexico and South America

Habitat: Forested and woodland areas

Nest: Eggs are laid directly on the ground, often in some sort of cavity

Eggs: 1-3, pale green to bluish white, with some brown splotches

Diet: Mostly carrion, often found by following Turkey Vultures with their sharper sense of smell; occasionally they eat live prey including livestock, or waste at landfills

Trivia: Despite being smaller than Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures tend to be heavier. The two species can be distinguished in flight by the Turkey Vulture's distinctive upward V shape of the wings known as a dihedral.



Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Weekend hours vary seasonally; call for details

After hours group

visits by appointment.

Trails, pavilion, and raptor mews (cages) are open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk.


Want to learn more about Turkey Vultures?

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

National Audubon Society

How about
Black Vultures?

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

National Audubon Society

More about vultures...

Fun facts

In entertainment:
The Jungle Book

Copyright 2016 Carbon County Environmental Education Center