Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) are common summer residents and transients here in southeastern Arizona from sometime in March to October depending on the weather. Turkey Vultures migrate southward to the warmer climate in Mexico for the winter.

A Turkey Vulture can easily be recognized by its large size, black feathers, and bald, red head.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) perched in a dead tree

Turkey Vultures are carrion-eaters and not only have sharp eyes, they also have a keen sense of smell which amazingly allows them to find rotting carcasses by smell alone. Not only do they prefer to eat dead animals, Turkey Vultures also often prefer to perch in dead trees like this one in Tanque Verde Wash here in Tucson.