Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turkey Vulture In The Grey Sky

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.


Kittie Howard said...

I realize turkey buzzards play an inportant role in the eco process. However, when Chena, my kitty of 21 years, was frail -- but not sick to cross the bridge --a turkey buzzard swooped low and tried to pull Chena from my arms while I was holding her outside on our deck. When I ducked, his claws pulled at my head...then flew up. So, no warm fuzzies for this dude.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Holy shoot!
So maybe Larry was swooping low cause he wanted to eat me, and not for a photo session.
Poor Chena.
Nature has no love in that way, it just eats and births.

Meg said...

You know, it is funny you say a turkey vulture tried to get your cat; I was always taught they only only only eat dead animals. However, last year there was an isue in a large town near me with people saying a group of turkey vultures were killing little dogs and cats.. I never knew whether to believe it or not.

Talking bout ugly, though- I never thought they were. The only thing I see as ugly is someone that has an ugly personailty, cause that really shines through. I have never seen an ugly animals. I recall a program I saw (Nature, I beleive) on Top 10 Ugliest Animals. Things like a vulture with a gorgeous rainbow head, and the monkey (forgive me, the name has slipped, though I should know it) with the little eyes and wide, flat hanging nose. I had such surprise at the monkey- I remember as a child thinking it looked so human!

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Meg!

You know I heard the same thing- that they only eat dead things- and i knew hawks would kill dogs, cats and chickens. Owls will too.
But maybe they can tell when something is old, maybe there is a smell.
One time, i had a cat i loved SOOooOOOOoo much, she was my best friend eva' and when she got really sick and was dieing I was devastated... i would bring her outside in a little basket to get fresh air and sit by the creek. A few days before she died (maybe 2?) when I put her down she got out and laid next to the water, next thing i knew there were ANTS crawling all over her as if she was already dead! I totally freaked out and brushed them off and brought her inside.

Sometimes nature is a little ahead of themselves. WTF.