The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a fairly common carrion eater that scavenges throughout the Bighorn Canyon region from April through November. They breed in this area, but some will migrate during the winter months.
They search for carrion during soaring, often circular flights, using not only their keen eyesight but their acute sense of smell. Other vultures commonly join in when possible food is discovered. They are gregarious and as such not only may be found feeding in groups but also roost in good sized communities.
Sometimes a group of vultures can be seen all holding their wings spread out. Most likely they are either drying out their wings, warming their body or baking off bacteria. At Bighorn Canyon they are most often spotted during their search for food. These vultures are found throughout the continental United States.
Did You Know?
Long before the Bighorn River was tamed by the Yellowtail Dam, the roiling waters through the canyon were feared. During spring snowmelt, the water turned into a raging torrent, a combination of whirlpools, rapids, and eddies. Conversely, the river through the canyon had a reputation for being placid by late summer, when dry heat and lack of rainfall turned it into a sedate stream. More...