Pilgrim is an adult female turkey vulture and the oldest of our Educational Birds. She weighs four pounds, has a wing span of seventy inches, and is thirty inches in length. Pilgrim was found beneath a power line in Whitehall, Montana in October of 1993.The wrist and elbow joints of her left wing were severely traumatized. She is non-releasable due to the irreparable wing damage and inability to sustain flight.
Turkey Vultures have exceptional soaring abilities and can travel great distances in search of carrion.To identify turkey vultures in flight, look for a two-toned gray and black under wing and a strong dihedral (upward “V”) wing position. Because of their large wingspan and light body weight, vultures have a characteristic rocking motion while in flight.
Vultures keep the environment clean with features that allow them to consume carrion (dead meat)- an un feathered head, a long neck, large nostril openings for odor detection, a sharp, hooked beak for tearing food, and flat feet for bracing and pulling on carcasses.
Vultures do not construct nests, but will use tree hollows, cliff cavities, or a scrape on the ground to lay one to two eggs. Turkey Vultures are migratory and can be found in Montana in late spring and throughout the summer.