Around noon on Sunday, we observed hundreds of Turkey Vultures riding a thermal updraft and swirling high into the air. The birds were quite some distance away when we first noticed them—maybe as far as a mile (1.6km). As the vultures rode the thermal to its height, they began to break out of the circular pattern they were flying, and one by one the birds started streaming off to the south. The long line of migrating Turkey Vultures passed directly overhead as we watched.

Observation Details

DateOctober 16, 2011
Time of DayNoon
TemperatureWarm (70-89°F/21-32°C)
Type of BehaviorMigration
ObserverChris Jackson

11 Replies to “Turkey Vulture – Sky Full of Birds”

  1. Saturday, Oct 21, 2011, @ 13:00 cst hundreds/thousands of vultures were migrating just below the cloud deck in Fairfield Tx heading south. Recorded a few photos like #6 above and one good zoom. Amazing to see so many bird at once, a first here. Where is their destination?

    1. The Turkey Vulture’s year round range includes most the south eastern United States, including the eastern 2/3 of Texas. It’s possible that Texas is their destination. But their year round range also includes all of Central and South America, so they may have a little further to go! Where are they coming from? The rest of the United States and the southern part of Canada.

    2. JYBonner:

      This just happened in Albuquerque NM and I immediately thought of the Turkey vultures that roost at my parents Ranch “Crooked Creek” there in Fairfield!!! But there were never this many.

  2. My son and I saw a “kettle” of migrating raptors directly above our house in Northwest Plano this afternoon. There were upwards of 200 arriving from the northeast, mostly turkey vultures but many large and midsize buteos as well. After riding a thermal up for about 2-3 minutes they streamed off towards the southwest. I grabbed binoculars to watch – hindsight tells me I should have grabbed a camera.

  3. I live in Orange Grove tx. I saw this morning. 100’s, of vultures flying south. I took pictures for ten minutes and they were still flying by. It was sight to see.

  4. Sunset outside Quakertown, in our Little township of Haycock, suddenly overhead witnessing hundreds of Turkey vultures flying caught in the thermal and offering us a view above no other, this beautiful Autumn evening!!! Crazy crazy wonderful mother nature always offering us America the Beautiful!!!

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