V is for Vulture #AtoZChallenge

turkey vultureVultures are crazy big birds and we have a ton of them around here.  Our biggest vultures, the California Condors are endangered and I have never seen one, but we have tons and tons of turkey vultures.  They have big black bodies and little red heads.  They glide on the warm air currents and circle slowly while on the hunt for a whiff of methane…which alerts them to carrion.  Mmmm, mmm!  They have a highly developed sense of smell, which is different because most birds use sight to find their prey.  These vultures also don’t have birdie vocal chords, I guess because they don’t need to call out and frighten prey to move, instead they rely on their heightened sense of smell since their food of choice isn’t moving anymore.  Personally, I am happy they are around to clean up all that stuff, because we have plenty of fields and animals out there and no one else wants what they do.  Icky.

But the other thing they do is circle around gas pipe leaks.  Methane attracts them, so they circle but there isn’t anything to nibble on.  The gas company keeps an eye out along their lines and if they see vultures circling, head out to investigate.  Very handy.

There is a tree at my mom’s work where the settle in for the evening at dusk.  No one parks under that particular tree O_0, it isn’t very safe for your car’s paint!  My favorite though is hiking as the sun is climbing in the sky and it is burning off a misty morning.  The vultures will be out on posts or rocks sunning their wings to dry them off before flying away.  Since they are so big, it is an amazing sight, especially when there are a bunch sunning themselves together!

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About ocdreader

I love to read! I always have a book or four going, I have more books in my to-be-read pile than I can read in a year and yet I continue to haunt the bookstores. I have a problem, but I somehow soldier on. I enjoy talking books, so pass on your recommendations and thoughts - I would love to hear them.
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12 Responses to V is for Vulture #AtoZChallenge

  1. They’re a right ugly bunch of sods.

  2. Wow!! You’re so lucky to be able to see them in the wild! I’ve only seen them in Zoos and Bird Parks. And the Gas company using them as diagnostic tools?! How cool is that!! Did you take the picture?

  3. cleemckenzie says:

    They are quite the clean up crew here in our mountains, too. When we see them circling we know another of our critters have gone to heaven. Up close they’re darned creepy.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I dunno if they’re the same, but around here we have what we call turkey buzzards. Sometimes they’re all over the place–once down at the lake, we saw them all over a neighboring lake house, scores of them, all with their wings spread trying to catch the sun. It was weird!

    • ocdreader says:

      It probably is them, they are called vultures or buzzards and have those little red heads. It does look like the cover a lot of territory too.
      I know, you see a whole bunch of them and you have to wonder what you are missing and if you should move far far away! 🙂

  5. Cathy I says:

    We have a barranca right next to my place of work with several eucalyptus trees where they sleep overnight. During the winter months with short daylight hours we see them returning at dusk circling overhead until they roost. There are at least 20, So cool to see them in the early morning sunning themselves. The funny thing though, is that I work at a Family Practice Health Care Clinic and we have a running joke about them….yeah, I know, medical humor!!!!!

  6. diannegray says:

    Anything that cleans up is a good guy in my books 😉

  7. jenniferbielman says:

    Well, I learned something today. lol. Interesting post.

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