Vulture Time!

Vulture Time!

The vultures have begun to arrive!! There are always Turkey vultures at Devil’s Lake State Park, but once a year vultures from all over the midwest gather at the park for a short time before heading south for the winter. We always expect large numbers of vultures to appear sometime around Columbus day, but nature doesn’t follow an exact schedule and we simply have to keep our eyes out for them. Yesterday, the first large groups (Called “kettles”) could be seen flying near the park’s north shore entrance road.

Now here’s the thing.  Just like we don’t know when they will arrive, we don’t know when they will leave either.  Studies have shown that vultures use weather fronts travel during migration** and just as they come in with the weather, they will soon hitch a ride on another front to move on.  It’s completely unpredictable.  So, if you want to see the vultures this year, the sooner the better.

One other thing worth a mention is that right at the moment with all the wind and rain, the vultures are not spending much time in the air. It looks like Friday (Partly Cloudy) and Saturday (Sunny) will be our next best weather days and the best opportunity to see them in the air.  IF they’re still here…

**Movement ecology of migration in turkey vultures

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