Two Vultures Spend the Winter at the Wildlife Care Center

Most of Oregon’s Turkey Vultures are currently living the good life in California and Mexico, but the Bird Alliance of Oregon is hosting two young vultures that weren’t able to journey south for the winter. The birds were injured in September, and while they’re doing well now, they didn’t recuperate in time to join the fall migration.

Photo by Tinsley Hunsdorfer

One of the vultures was admitted to our Wildlife Care Center with a collarbone fracture, likely the result of a car collision. The second vulture was originally taken in by the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center after it suffered an impact injury that caused leg weakness; Turtle Ridge decided to transfer it to Bird Alliance of Oregon when they realized the bird would need to overwinter in Oregon. Turkey Vultures are very social animals, and in the wild the youngsters would be living with a group of vultures, so it’s in their best interest to spend the winter together. Having a vulture companion also helps prevent them from becoming habituated to people.

The young birds will be released this spring when Turkey Vultures return to Oregon. Before heading back into the wild, they will need to demonstrate they are strong fliers who can take off and land well. When they get closer to their target release date, the vultures will get to practice these skills in one of our large flight cages.

For now, the birds spend their days in the Wildlife Care Center’s heated mews, eating plenty of good food like dead mice, fish and quail. The vultures also receive regular checkups to make sure they are healthy and within their target weight range. Both are feisty, strong birds: good signs that suggest they’ll be ready for release when vultures wing their way back to Oregon for the summer.

Every year the Wildlife Care Center treats 3,000 injured or orphaned native animals. If you would like to make a donation to support our wildlife rehabilitation work at the Wildlife Care Center, click here.