Missouri Turkey Vultures

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Welcome to the Missouri Turkey Vultures! This nest is located in the top of a barn in Marshall, Missouri.

The vultures have migrated south for the winter. We’ll turn the cam back on when they return.

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About the Marshall Turkey Vultures

About the Turkey Vultures

The Marshall Turkey Vultures are nesting in an empty hay loft in a barn on private property near Marshall, MO. In general, vultures arrive in late March or early April and lay eggs in early May. Hatch begins about 28 days after the second egg is laid. Both parents incubate eggs and brood young.

Vultures eat primarily carrion. Although they prefer relatively fresh carrion, they are unable to tear carcasses open, which means they must wait until a carcass putrefies or is opened by mammals or larger vultures. This may be why they have been documented following bald eagles and black vultures.

Adult Turkey Vultures regurgitate food for their young, who fledge roughly sixty days after hatching. To learn more about turkey vultures in general, please follow this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

Adults

Although vultures are classified as a member of the order  Accipitriformes, and so related to hawks, eagles, and falcons, males and female birds are similar in size and lack the strong feet and talons of most Accipitriforme birds. Turkey Vultures do not have a syrinx, so they grunt, stamp, and hiss instead of calling, singing, chattering, or otherwise making vocalizations that we associate with birds.

Nests

Turkey vultures lay eggs in dark, quiet recesses, including rock outcrops, mammal burrows, hollow logs, thickets, hollow trees, abandoned stick nests, and abandoned buildings. Nest sites must be dark and isolated from human disturbance.

Quick facts
Common name: Turkey vulture
Scientific name: Cathartes aura
Both Sexes
Length: 25.2-31.9 in (64-81 cm) | Weight: 70.5 oz (2000 g)
Wingspan: 66.9-70.1 in (170-178 cm)
Lifespan: 20+ years in the wild. The oldest known turkey vulture, Tolouse, is 38 years old, and lives at the San Francisco Zoo.

Turkey Vulture Vocalization
This vocalization was taken from our cam in 2013. It includes two young vultures food begging and chasing a parent.

Learn More About Bald Eagles
April 19, 2024: DN17 and DN18

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week Four

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week four in this blog. During week three (fourteen to twenty-one days), the dynamic duo shed most of their natal down, gained

2024: 0629-44094, aka Ma FSV. She is 22 years old and fledged from a still active nest about 45 miles east of this one.

Bald Eagles, Menopause, and Ova

Do bald eagles go through menopause? Probably not, since we’ve documented menopause or prolonged post-reproductive lifespans in just four species.

Feather Follicle

What are feathers? What is molt?

Eaglets go through two molts and three feather stages in the nest: natal down (and molt), followed by thermal down (and molt), followed by juvenile feathers. As of this blog, the Decorah North eaglets are shedding the very last of their natal down and their thermal down is rapidly being replaced by juvenile down and feathers. We thought we would blog a little more about feathers to celebrate!  When we think about feathers, we tend to think about their qualities

April 14, 2024: The last gosling hatches at N1.

Canada Geese: Precocial versus Altricial

As watchers know, Canada geese are nesting in two abandoned bald eagle nests in Decorah, Iowa. N2B – currently a goose nest – is located about 700 feet east of N1, where geese started hatching yesterday. This blog discusses some of the differences between altricial eagles and precocial geese!  Altricial eaglets rely on parental care until they fledge. But goslings are precocial: capable of moving around, self-feeding, and leaving the nest shortly after hatch. What does that mean? Read on

April 6, 2024: Sleeping - and dreaming! are part of eaglet growth and development.

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week Three

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week three in this blog. DN17 and DN18 turned 15 and 14 days old today. During week two (seven to 14 days),

Click for More About Bald Eagles
News

We not have any Turkey Vulture news. Keep checking back!

June 17, 2024: It isn't easy to hold, filet, and eat a fish on a limb. The professors at Eagle Outdoor School can be pretty tough!

June 18, 2024: NestFlix and News from Decorah North and the Wisconsin Kestrels!

We’re getting a lot of questions about fledglings DN17 and DN18. While the North nest’s fall was pretty dramatic, it’s not that uncommon for nests to fall. I can think of two others this spring off the top of my head: the Denton Homes nest in Des Moines, Iowa, and an offline nest in Brownsville, MN. In the first case, the eaglets were taken from the area for an assessment by Iowa Bird Rehabilitation before being returned to the area

June 16, 2024: The North Nest has fallen.

June 16, 2024: The North Nest Falls

We are sad to report that the Decorah North nest came down this morning after heavy rain added weight to the nest tree branches. The nest tree support branches had been deteriorating and it was just a matter of time before something happened. We are thankful that DN17 and DN18 both survived and, although it looked like DN18 (perched to the right), could have been in the mix of branches coming down, DN18 is looking good, navigating through the wet

June 12, 2024: DN17 fledged!

June 12, 2024: DN17 has fledged!

DN17 fludged (our word for an unintentional fledge) when the branch she was perched on broke at 7:28 AM this morning. DN17’s first flight was unintentional and surprised – more ‘oh no – wings!’ than ‘yay flight!’ – but the eaglet quickly and instinctively gained its wings for a strong first flight and the siblings are beginning to explore the great wide world together! Come watch with us for the next part of their grand adventure. Home is where the

June 11, 2024: DN18 gets ready to fly!

June 11, 2024: DN18 Fledges!

DN18 fledged today at 11:50AM. The eaglet appeared strong and confident as it looked all around, gathered its strength, spread its wings, and winged its way into the great wide world! Watch the video at about 50 seconds and you’ll see DN18 fly off across the pasture, where it was joined by Mr. North on T4. Will DN17 fledge tomorrow? Stay tuned! Mr. North with DN18 on T4: https://youtu.be/lXOQ8ryk-pA?si=rAdIdQ9zU-6DC72S No related posts.

June 10, 2024: DN18 branches!

June 10, 2024: DN18 branches!

DN18 branched this morning at 6:34am, following sibling DN17 on to the left side perch. DN17 and DN18 turned 78 days and 77 days old today. Will we see our first fledge tomorrow? Stay tuned! No related posts.

>> More News
Nest Records
Turkey Vulture 2024 Nest Records

Egg Laying
Egg #1 was laid on April 15
Egg #2 was laid on April 16

Egg Hatching
We expect hatch on or around May 22

Fledging
TBD

Vultures and Outcomes >> Detailed Annual Information

Year Nest  Chicks Known Outcomes
2023 Marshall Turkey Vultures MOTV5, MOTV6 The vultures laid two eggs and produced two chicks.
2022 Marshall Turkey Vultures MOTV3, MOTV4 The vultures laid two eggs and produced two chicks.
2021 Marshall Turkey Vultures MOTV1, MOTV2 The vultures laid two eggs and produced two chicks.
Missouri Turkey Vulture Video Library

Missouri Turkey Vulture Video Library

Click the hamburger icon on the top right of the video below to watch this year’s videos, or view our full Missouri Turkey Vulture library on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/RaptorResourceProject.