Vultures 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!