Every time i see one of these big turkey vultures I usually mistake it for a hawk. And for all I know, I may be now mistaking a hawk for a turkey vulture... but i don't think so. As much as people don't like vultures close up (people don't seem to think they are as beautiful a bird as they really are), from a distance these large birds have as much intense graceful presence as other birds of prey. Turkey vultures carry a huge windspan, as wide as an eagle!
This turkey vulture pictured here- let's call him Larry, was swooping really low to the ground above my head, which is highly unusual. I usually see these birds in groups of 2 to 4, swaying, gliding, and circling overhead. Larry though was all alone, and I almost could swear once he saw me taking pictures he began showing off... you know in a really dark, goth kind of way (as not to totally ruin his Edgar Allen Poe style reputation.)
"Soaring for hours over woodland and nearby open country, the Turkey Vulture searches for carcasses, locating them at least partly by means of its acute sense of smell. As they soar, these "buzzards" ride on rising columns of warm air called thermals to save energy as they cover miles of territory. The importance of this energy saving is clear from the fact that we seldom see a Turkey Vulture on a windless day, when thermals do not form. Turkey Vultures are valuable for their removal of garbage and disease-causing carrion.
Nesting: 2 whitish eggs, heavily marked with dark brown, placed without nest or lining in a crevice in rocks, in a hollow tree, or in a fallen hollow log."