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Turkey vultures and hawks enjoy the skies together

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 6:53 am in Hawks, Turkey vultures.

Turkey vulture (l.) and red-tailed hawk (r.) flying together. Photo by Greg Merritt, Vallejo, CA
1hawk vulture greg merritt vallejo

I had to write to you to ask a question: Just thought it was curious and a little bizarre to see our red-tailed hawks soaring in formation with our local turkey vultures, with all of them getting along just fine!

In this picture I’m including above, it’s a red-tail soaring along with a vulture. I have several pictures of them soaring along together, and they were not fighting at all. If anything, they seemed to be enjoying the day, and each others company. It was quite weird.

I have several others with 5 or 6 vultures and a red-tail and a peregrine all flying in formation … and trust me, it’s the oddest thing ever … they obviously enjoy each other’s company …  I think it’s just a little bit odd. (Alfred Hitchcock would be proud!) Is this common behavior?
Greg Merritt,Vallejo, California

Yes, hawks and vultures will often cruise around the skies together. They don’t compete with each other, or prey on each other. We probably see them flying around together a lot more often than we realize, since they can look so much alike when they are up there circling above us. /Gary

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