Turkey Vultures: An Observational Study on the Social and Roosting Behavior in Makoshika State Park, Montana
I observed the behavior of Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) roosting in Makoshika State Park in Glendive, Montana for a total of 37 days. I saw as many as 24 birds, and as few as 2 in a day. These birds maintained a distinct home range circuit around the radio towers distributed throughout the park. Two towers in particular, the Primary Tower termed so because of the birds preference for it, and the Secondary Tower, which the vultures landed on but in fewer numbers, were the primary locations that the birds were observed. The Turkey vultures in Makoshika maintain a communal relationship. Positions on the towers were strictly enforced and maintained with a territorial perching response. Other behaviors observed include: aggressive behavior, preening, sleeping and cooling off. 1 also attempted to observe feeding behavior by supplying decayed meat. I also investigated a possible nesting site in the park, Buzzard Ridge, and these results are discussed.