Category Archives: Field Notes from 3RF

Wildlife biology research for 3RF (3 Rivers Foundation)

Do Turkey Vultures Take a Bath?

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Turkey vulture approaching the Beaver Pond.

In the over 179,000 photos I’ve captured so far during my ongoing wildlife study at 3RF, a few remarkable photos caught my eye from September 2017 which I’ve never seen before. A turkey vulture was photographed walking into the Beaver Pond and taking a bath along the water’s edge.

After some research, I learned after seeing this series of photos that if a water source is available turkey vultures will often bathe after they eat. This gives them the ability to wash off excess carrion that’s remained around their heads after they are done eating.

I never would’ve known this interesting bit of information if it were not catching it on one of my camera traps. As you can see from the images the bird stayed in the water for around 10 minutes. It dunked its head completely under the water, waited and then walked out of the pond.

So now you know that turkey vultures do take baths after they eat. Enjoy!

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Made it into the water up to its belly.
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Turkey vulture taking in its surroundings.
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Washing its head.
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All done now!
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Pausing before leaving the Beaver Pond.
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Exiting the Beaver Pond with an obvious wet head.