Open 361 Days a Year: Admissions 10:00am – 3:30pm; park closes at 4:30pm

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Reservations are not required, and tickets do not need to be purchased online in advance.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura

Appearance: Turkey vultures are large black birds with bright, bare red heads. They have a wingspan of about 6 feet and are one of our largest birds. 

Behavior: They have long been perceived as loathsome creatures because of their repulsive feeding habits.  However, they play an important role by “cleaning up” dead animals from our forests, roadways, and fields.  They locate their food through sight and scent, an unusual adaptation since most birds have a poorly developed sense of smell.  The bare head is an adaptation for an animal that is constantly sticking it inside dead animals.  When vultures are cornered or threatened, they have the ability to regurgitate the contents of their stomach, a repulsive habit that is very effective in frightening away an attacker.

History: Vultures, also known as buzzards, are scavenging birds, which feed on the remains of dead animals.  For years, vultures have been classified as birds of prey along with hawks, owls, and eagles.  However, in 1994, vultures were reclassified and placed in the stork family.  Vultures are fully protected by federal laws.  It is illegal to kill, injure, or possess one of these birds.

Range: Turkey vultures can be found throughout North America.

Diet: Turkey vultures are carrion-feeders who prefer recently deceased animals.

Morticia

Date of Birth: Approximately 2012-2013

Morticia came to the WNC Nature Center in 2023 from Zoo America/Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She was born in the wild but an injury from a buckshot in her right wing shoulder prevents her from flying well.

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Meet our other animals

American Black Bear

American Black Bear

Generally shy and reclusive animals, black bears avoid human contact and are not normally aggressive. Two black bears, Uno and Ursa, live at the Nature Center.

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American Pygmy Goat

American Pygmy Goat

Similar to the Nigerian dwarf goat, the American pygmy is a small goat that only reaches 1-2 feet in height. They vary widely in coloration including white, tan, caramel, gray, and black.

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Red Wolf Karma

American Red Wolf

Red wolves are highly endangered species that has been eliminated from almost all of its natural range. Our breeding pair of red wolves, Oak and Gloria, are part of the AZA Species Survival Plan.

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