Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - local seasonal appearance

Based on 32 observations in Seymour township, Northumberland county, southeast Ontario, 1999-2003.

The turkey vulture is more-often-than-not seen from country roads, hovering and tilting into the wind, wing tips lifted in characteristic dihedral profile, or circling in groups on updrafts. The bird is generally seen in the region from April to late September (31 March to 26 September), rarely later, as in the case of a pair seen on the cool and windy 21 November 1998. Out-of-season, of course, the bird can be found "down south", e.g., as an abundant rural inhabitant of southeast Cuba in January. The frequency of road sightings is such that the field notes are sometimes ambiguous in their exact location: whether in Seymour or (various excluded sightings) in adjacent townships. The most spectacular place to view nesting turkey vultures in the region is the overlook to the old Marmoraton iron mine, accessible from the south side of Highway 7 just east of Marmora.

This vulture is a rare spring migrant (early April to late May) and uncommon fall migrant (mid-September to late October) at Presqu'ile provincial park, roughly 40 km to the south (LaForest, 1993, p.98). Joe Arengi saw a pair of turkey vultures from highway 401 west of Brighton on 18 March 1999, a very early sighting for the region.

The turkey vulture ("buzzard" in common parlance) is a common summer resident in northern Peterborough county, to the northwest, generally noted between 04 March and 04 September, with rare winter records in January and February, and one on 24 November 1962 (Sadler, 1983, p.57).

turkey vulture [73 kb]


LaFOREST,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.

SADLER,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.

Graham Wilson, posted 06 June 2004

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