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This clean up crew is fascinating!

~Some cool facts about our resident turkey vultures~

Turkey vultures are called “Nature’s garbage collectors” by some; it’s widely believed that they eat anything dead but they prefer their ‘meals’ to be no more than 3 days old.

Turkey vultures have keen eyesight and a razor-sharp sense of smell. A large nasal cavity in their beak helps them detect a carcass from great distances. This nasal cavity goes from one side of the beak to the other, and the vulture can clean it out with its talon.

Not the prettiest predator at NIWRA, but turkey vultures are one of the most fascinating!

The vulture can put its featherless head into a rotting carcass without soiling or damaging its feathers or contacting diseases. Bacteria left on the vulture's head will be killed by the sunlight, and it is thought that their strong digestive juices kill most harmful bacteria. They defecate on their legs to disinfect them.

If they feel threatened, a turkey vulture can projectile-vomit up to 3 meters (10’) as a means of defense. Come check out Anastasia, Boris, Igor and Vladimir -- our resident turkey vultures, the next time you visit NIWRA, but be sure to keep your distance!

Two of our resident turkey vultures suffered damage to their wings and do not fly well enough for release. The other two had ingested some form of toxic substance that disrupted their feather quality and makes them poor flyers as well.

You can help the wildlife in care at NIWRA by making a financial contribution on our secure website. Thank you so much for caring about wildlife!




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