Each spring, summer, and fall, Wyoming is host to one of the most useful birds in the region: the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)! Cathartes is Greek for “purifier.” By scavenging animal carcasses, Turkey Vultures serve a vital role as the recyclers and cleaners of the plains, prairies, forests, and foothills.
Turkey Vultures range across most of North America, from southern Canada, throughout the continental US and Mexico, and through most of Central and South America. Despite their huge range, there is a lot not known about them.
The University of Wyoming campus and the broader Laramie area offer an opportunity to fill in gaps in our knowledge of Turkey Vultures in Wyoming. In early to mid-April, they arrive in Laramie after migrating from wintering grounds in Central and South America. They have a communal roost located on campus, which they use until migrating back to their winter grounds in September and October. Communal roosts are important gathering places for the birds, providing them a safe place to sleep, take care of their daily tasks like stretching and cleaning, and, possibly, share information about the location of resources.
Join Vulture Watch Wyoming
Vulture Watch Wyoming invites community members from across the state to share their observations of these fascinating birds. There is much to learn about roost dynamics, breeding behavior, and how they interact with their habitat. Whether you spend a few minutes observing their communal roost, watch them soar, or you find roost sites, your reported observations will help researchers at the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates and the Biodiversity Institute build a better picture of where these important birds are found in Wyoming.
Learn more about Turkey Vultures and how to become involved in Vulture Watch Wyoming at our training session on April 27th from 10 a.m. to noon. The training will be held in-person in the Berry Center Auditorium on the UW campus and will be streamed live on Zoom. All are welcome!
Did you know turkey vultures serve a vital role in Wyoming as recyclers and "cleaners?" Yet, even as one of the most widely distributed North American birds, little is understood about them here. Join us for this new community science project beginning Spring 2024. You can join from anywhere in WY!
the training/info session IS april 27,
from 10am-noon, AT the uw berry center IN LARAMIE