Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wing tagged Turkey Vultures

This is Turkey Vulture tagging season! 2009 marks the 7th year of TUVU tagging in Saskatchewan by Dr. Stuart Houston, Brent Terry, Marten Stoffel, and Mike Bloom.

For those who are not aware banders are not permitted to place aluminum bands on the legs of Turkey Vultures. This is because TUVU excrete their body waste down their legs to cool themselves. If you place an aluminum band on their leg, you soon get a cement like mass on their leg that can seriously cause problems for the bird. Therefore to track TUVU's we place a patagial tag on the wing. Below is an example of one of these tags.

For the last 7 years Stuart's crew has been tagging nestling TUVU in Saskatchewan. They are trying to determine when young TUVUs begin nesting. Before this study, there was only one TUVU of known age on a nest in North America, it was 11 years old at the time. To date, I don't believe there has been any records of any of the wing tagged vultures from Saskatchewan have begun successful breeding but it is expected in the next few years some light will be shed on this question.

Last week I joined Brent Terry and Marten Stoffel at Indian Head to check on a few TUVU nests in the area. Lorne Scott also joined us. He has had TUVUs nesting on his land for over 4 years now I believe. I had a great time with all three of these guys! And we met a couple of wonderful landowners as well.

If you see a TUVU with a green wing tag please report it. You can contact me, or Dr. Stuart Houston of Saskatoon, SK. Or you can report it to

Turkey Vultures are increasing in numbers in Saskatchewan. They are using old abandoned farm houses and buildings as an artificial cave to nest in. If you are in SK and have TUVUs nesting in an old abandoned building on your land, please contact either me or Stuart. Below is an example of a Turkey Vulture house that has been active north of Regina for at least the last 4 years.


Bob Greenfield said...

Hello All:

This morning I stumbled across two turkey vultures north east of Lloydminster. They were sitting on the roof of an old falling down barn in a deserted farmyard. I didn't have binoculars and so couldnt tell if they were bandd or not. If anyone is interested in more information, I could return to the site with binoculars and establish if they are tagged or even enter the building and search for nest or young.

I have the pleasure of meeting Stuart years ago and assisited in spotting and banding Great Horned Owls as well. I would love to help with the turkey vulture program. Contact me below.


Bob Greenfield

email 306-821-1550

Anonymous said...

Seen two today south west of birch hills

Anonymous said...

Eight vultures in the trees in our yard today One tagged with a green tag white number 656. Does anybody know how to find out where and when this particular bird was banded?

Jared said...

You can contact Dr. Stuart Houston of Saskatoon, 306-244-0742, but be sure not to call after 9 pm. Stuart is the head of the Turkey Vulture tagging program here in Saskatchewan and will be able to provide you with some information.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Turkey vulture in Regina, SK, Lakeview neighbourhood. If interested in exact location tweet me at curtismyers73.

Anonymous said...

saw 8-10 at big knife provincial park july 15 2014 could read wing tag one one C56 or 65 memory is short