11 thoughts on “New! – Your Turkey Vulture FAQ”

  1. I visited a bird shelter in Illinois once that tended to wounded birds and then released them back into the wild. They had a number of turkey vultures there. Whatever they were eating was insanely gross and stinky so I had to ask the staff what it was. Rotten meat typically, even road kill picked up by volunteers. They said the more rotten the meat was, the more the birds liked it.

  2. Turkey vultures deserve respect. They are hard working birds.

    A while back I had a back spasm and it was spring and nice so I went out to lay down on my sidewalk with my head on a step and read. It’s weird but it works to stretch my back out and I really don’t have room to do it inside the house.

    I’m laying there reading for around 20 minutes when a movement caught my eye and I look up and see three turkey vultures (which we call buzzards) circling over me speculatively. They were clearly on the job and just waiting for me to stop moving altogether so they could swoop down and recycle my corpse.

    It made me contemplate my own morality for a moment.

    They’re also crime fighters because they make it almost impossible to just dump a body out in the country such a body will draw a column of circling vultures visible for miles. People in the country learn to investigate such events if they occur on their land. You never know what you will find.

    They’re also good for finding injured livestock or pets because they’ll track anything not moving properly.

  3. I think a California Condor makes a turkey vulture look like an Eagle. And you are right about their place in the ecosystem Shannon.

    Who would want to have one of those things as a pet?

  4. I was kidding, I don’t think they would be good pets, but they are interesting.

    Around here they are a winter phenomenon, as are the black vultures which are smaller and differently shaped but seem to behave similarly.

  5. Dan, in the FAQ at the link there is a different info: they say the vulture prefers a)fresh meat, and will only eat rotten or decayed if no other choice available b) prefer the meat of herbivores, so dog roadkill, f.i., would be their last preference if given a choice.

  6. Tatyana – from anecdotal observation out here I would say that they frequently have to settle on their last choice ;-)

    Crows like road kill, too I think

  7. California condors are vultures on growth steroids. When I was a college student, my girlfriend and I used to go up to Los Padres National Forest, north of Los Angeles, where you could watch condors with binoculars. We could rarely get closer than a half mile but they are big and interesting to watch. Unfortunately, they also like the poisonous component of antifreeze and there are fewer of them than there used to be. The same bird is also found in the Andes of South America. Fewer idiots with leaking radiators there, I suspect.

  8. Michael – The state here has put them on the “endangered” list and has been slowly bringing them back. But you are right – they are a vulture on steroids!

    Didn’t know about the antifreeze angle –

  9. My rural deep east TX farm cousins rescued a baby buzzard when we were kids in the early 60s.

    Before it had feathers it was covered with gray fuzz, and looked like a large ugly 4 legged spider.

    When it grew up, it adopted the youngest boy cousin and followed him around.

    It would perch on a telephone pole at his bus stop and wait for him to come home.

    My cousins still laugh about people asking them why there was a buzzard living on their roof.

  10. “It would perch on a telephone pole at his bus stop and wait for him to come home.”

    I would so bet that this made the other kids on the bus very, very nervous. Especially given Shannon’s comment – above.

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