Large Bird Crashes Into Van

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 30th, 2009

State police say a large flying bird (photographed above) injured a passenger when it crashed through a minivan’s windshield Friday, March 27, 2009, near Parsippany, New Jersey.

Drawing: Peterson’s Guide.

The bird crashed into a red Dodge Caravan at about 8:15 a.m. on Interstate 80. The bird, allegedly identified at the scene as a turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), hit

…32-year-old Vanessa Hurtado in the face, causing minor cuts. Shards of glass got caught in her eye.

The turkey vulture landed in the middle seat behind the driver, 35-year-old Jorge Hurtado, who wasn’t hurt. He told police that the bird was alive for a brief time following the crash; the responding officer pronounced the animal dead at the scene.

Eagle Towing (no pun intended) towed the vehicle away. Vanessa Hurtado first asked that the vulture be removed from the car, lest it marinate in the heat.

Turkey vultures, which are not related to turkeys, generally soar in circles on wind currents and are often seen on highway shoulders eating road kill.

This isn’t the first time a turkey vulture has left its mark on a New Jerseyan. In June 2004, one hit a motorcyclist in the head. While attempting to get the live bird off of him, the man lost control and struck another car. He died of his injuries.NBC News, New York

Was it a turkey vulture (shown at right below compared to an black vulture)? Even immature vultures of both species are uniformly dark. Look at the photo again of the dead bird in the van.


Humm, now notice the distinctive feathers on the bird in the van.

John James Audubon’s famed painting of Meleagris gallopavo.

🙂 Thank You.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “Large Bird Crashes Into Van”

  1. swnoel responds:

    Looks like a turkey.

  2. Colpittsdragon responds:

    Sounds like, and looks like a turkey. When turkeys fly across streets they stay really low. My father almost had a turkey go through his window. It flew out of the bushes and across the road.

    Anyway, the coloring isn’t right for a vulture, it’s speckled like a turkey and the tail feathers are wider than a vulture’s.

  3. maslo63 responds:

    I agree with swnoel, the bird in the car is a turkey. How anyone could confuse the two is beyond me.

  4. Richard888 responds:

    I can see how throwing a FROZEN turkey at a car’s windshield can smash the windshield but didn’t realize that a living bird could do same damage.

  5. kittenz responds:

    Maybe someone said “turkey” and was misunderstood to say “turkey vulture”. I see wild turkeys almost every day. That looks like a turkey.

  6. cryptidsrus responds:

    Yep, looks like a turkey.

  7. The Rish responds:

    It is a Guinea Hen. They are a free roaming domesticated bird. They can get very large. A neighbor down the road has some. As soon as they come in my yard again, I will let you know how good they are on the grill.

  8. bray_beast responds:

    Looks like a female ringneck pheasant, or a guinea hen. The red under the eyes is what says it’s not a female turkey to me.

  9. maslo63 responds:

    It is not a female pheasant or Guinea hen. Female pheasants don’t have a rusty colored tail or the same intense banding on the wings and is too small to really be an option. Guinea hens look nothing like the bird photographed.

    Female pheasant

    Guinea hen


  10. dogu4 responds:

    Not a teratornis. Dang!

  11. Shelley responds:

    We have wild turkeys and turkey vultures here in southern Illinois. Last year there was an incident where a turkey ended up going through the windshield of a car; I don’t remember if he flew or was thrown by an impact. You occasionally see a dead turkey vulture on the road, as they love road kill and are more slow moving than smaller birds, but I have never heard of them flying into cars. Turkey vultures are good flyers, although a bit slow to take off. Wild turkeys are clumsy fliers and tend to cruise close to the ground, so I could see one flying into the path of a car by accident.

  12. dustybug responds:

    I live in Atlantic County, NJ was running outside one day (early July) and saw this thing just chilling on the ground and I was kinda startled! So I crossed the street because I never saw a bird that big. At first I thought it was turkey or a guinea hen until I saw the thing take off and fly to the top of a two story house! The wing span was huge and then I thought is this thing a giant hawk or something?! This bird definitely did NOT stay close to the ground and I kinda knew turkeys can fly but they stay low and fly kinda slow, so I was totally thrown off. Long story short, I kicked it up a notch and hawled my butt as fast as I could away from that thing.

    Do these things attack humans ever?

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