Turkey Vultures; Beautiful Birds

Much maligned, feared, but mostly avoided the ever present Turkey Vultures are as common in the sky as the continual parade of airplanes far above. Vultures are graceful flyers, riding the wind or thermal updrafts they rarely move their wings.

This young Turkey Vulture’s feathers are nearly perfect.

As they glide in the breeze they resemble someone on a high wire act in the Circus, each wing taking turns dipping as the long pole does. They signal one another in some way, from my observation there is something in the way they spiral upwards or down.

A distance photo of the same bird.

One bird will start low making a circle slowly rising at a steady pace. When a certain height is attained a few more will join it. When they keep rising it signals nothing below, but if they spiral down there is.

In Contrast to the above photo this individual is a bit older and much more raggedy.

When they rise the higher the small group goes the more members they lose until the original bird is alone riding on the wind to begin the search once more. Those that followed gravity will pound their wings vigorously to gain altitude then once again catch the wind and glide.

He’s a ragged old guy, large and healthy he’s heading for the overnight roosting tree.

It’s comforting watching them on their endless search; mostly solitary until a target is spotted at that time the remainder of the flock emerges from seemingly no-where. There may be a scant few or flocks as large as 20 and more. They are beautiful animals performing an important service in the environment having a job no others would take.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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