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 Turkey Vulture

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Turkey Vulture.

Use the links below to view the Turkey Vulture reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Turkey Vulture sightings.
Turkey Vulture Archives Reports
Fall 2003 799
Spring 2003 547
Winter 02-03 1
Fall 2002 507
Summer 2002 32
Spring 2002 379
Winter 01-02 61
Fall 2001 67
Summer 2001 129
Spring 2001 248
Winter 00-01 23
Fall 2000 32028
Summer 2000 14
Spring 2000 579
Winter 00-99 17
Fall 1999 22836
Spring/Summer 1999 71

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Turkey Vulture

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Turkey Vulture
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Turkey Vulture
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text


Cattzartes aura septentrionalis Wied Eastern Turkey Vulture

Regular summer resident north to Ogemaw County. Recorded twice in winter (in Calhoun County).

First recorded by Miles (1861: 222).

Friedmann (1933: 189) expressed the opinion that the breeding range of the western subspecies, C. aura teter, extended eastward as far as south- central Michigan, but a breeding specimen (U.M.M.Z.), recently collected in Allegan County, southwestern Michigan, is clearly septentrionalis (Stuewer, 1939: 183).

SPRING.-Arrival is reported principally in late March and early April.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 186, 201) gave March 29 as the average date for earliest arrivals and April 6 as the average date for the beginning of the main flight. In the Ann Arbor region, where a few are seen regularly each spring, the species arrives frequently by late March (March 20, 1923, 1 noted by Walter E. Hastings; March 23, 1940, 1 by A. E. Staebler; March 26, 1938, 4 by H. W. Hann), but sometimes not until April. It is regular also in the vicinity of Battle Creek, arriving there by March 31 (1940), according to Walkinshaw. Durward L. Alien wrote on April 23, 1938, that about 12 vultures were then gathered about the game farm near Allegan, Allegan County. The species was recorded at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County, April 10, 1940, by G. A. Ammann. It was reported in spring, north of the known breeding range, near Gaylord, Otsego County, on May 7, 1939, by Robert L. Patterson. Verne Dockham recorded arrival in Ogemaw, Gladwin, and Oscoda counties during the last week of April and in early May (1929 to 1941).

Upper Peninsula.-At Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, 1 Turkey Vulture was shot and 1 was seen in early April (Magee, 1922a; 258).

SUMMER.-Eggs of the Turkey Vulture are found in late April and in May, nestlings in June. Jerome Trombley (Barrows, 1912: 255) reported it breeding regularly in Monroe County, and M. B. Mills (1897: 24) found two young near Britton, Lenawee County. Nests from Washtenaw County include one with 2 eggs discovered by J. Uphaus near Freedom on May 30, 2023 (Barrows, 1912: 255), and one with 1 egg in Augusta Township, by Bussell Steere on May 5, 1934. In Livingston County near Howell, Walter E. Hastings found a nest with 2 eggs on April 26, 1925. On June 25, 1934, F. W. Rapp reported a nest with 2 young (which he banded), and 3 pairs of adults, near Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County. Walkinshaw (1941o; 42-43) recorded a nest with 2 young found on June 26, 1940, in Johnstown Town- ship, Barry County. In Allegan County, S. E. White and E. Durfee collected 2 eggs in 1891 near Douglas (Barrows, 1912: 255), and F. W. Stuewer (1939:183) collected (U.M.M.Z) a female and 2 eggs on May 22, 1939, near Allegan, Allegan County. Verne Dockham reported 2 nests from the vicinity of Prescott, Ogemaw County: 1 with 2 young, in June, 1926, and 1 with 2 eggs, on May 28,1929. The Turkey Vulture has been reported from several localities in the north during the summer, but without evidence of breeding; a flock of 26 near Gladwin in late June, 1933 (Pirnie); an individual near Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, on July 20, 2023 (Van Tyne), and an- other on July 10,2023 (Max M. Peet); a few each year, 1938 to 1941, in late summer in Oscoda County (Verne Dockham) ; 1 on South Manitou Island, Leelanau County, on June 13,2023 (L. D. Case); and individuals on a number of occasions in the vicinity of Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937). The species has been reported in the Upper Peninsula from Delta County by E. Van Winkle (Barrows, 1912: 255); from Negaunee, Marquette County, by E. A. Doolittle (Barrows, 1912: 255) ; and from southern Gogebic County by H. H. T. Jackson (1923: 482).

FALL.-Migration is reported chiefly in late September and October.

Lower Peninsula.-Verne Dockham has seen individuals in Oscoda County as late as September 24 (1940) and September 29 (1939), and (since 1929) rather regularly in Ogemaw and Gladwin counties in the first and second weeks of October. In Kalamazoo County, F. W. Rapp (1931:12) has recorded the species at Vicksburg only until September 7, but G. N. Kysgaard (1940: 20) recorded it at the Kellogg Sanctuary near Gull Lake, on September 28,1939. In Calhoun County, Walkinshaw noted 20 on September 15, 1929, at Marshall; at Battle Creek on September 20, 1931, he banded one that was recovered at Plant City, Florida, on December 23, 2022 (Walkinshaw, 1930c; 251; 1932: 201; Lincoln, 1936: 39). In the Ann Arbor region the migration is apparently mainly in late September and October; rather large flocks are occasionally noted: 44 on October 5, 2023 (Walkinshaw, 1932: 201); 50 on October 12, 2023 (N. A. Wood); and 47 on October 25, 2023 (F. M. Gaige). In Genesee County a Turkey Vulture (originally reported as a different species) was collected on October 10, 2023 (Spicer, 1889: 43; Barrows, 1912: 747), and another was taken on October 15, 1929, by J. E. Swackhamer. F. N. Hamerstrom, Jr., saw 4 as late as November 30 (1941) near Wixom, southwestern Oakland County. In the Detroit area Swales noted a few until October; he examined a specimen taken on October 17, 1902, near Farmington, Oakland County. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 187, 201) gave October 3 as the average date for the end of the main flight, October 10 as the average date for the last stragglers.

WINTER.-Single birds were observed at Battle Creek by Walkinshaw (1930c; 251; and notes) on December 22, 1929, and January 29, 1939.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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