The Travels of Tug 44

Turkey Vulture - Turkey Buzzard

The Turkey Vulture, also commonly known as the Turkey Buzzard. This one is sitting on a road-side guard rail, watching a dead skunk until traffic passes.   high-res

The road is clear so she hops down to resume her lunch. Dead skunk, yumm! Several more Buzzards soar in lazy circles overhead. Turkey Vultures have a 5-6 foot wingspread so they can glide all day long and they are capable of hunting by smell.   high-res

She keeps a wary eye on the sky and road while she dines...   high-res

... and is soon joined by several other Turkey Buzzards. If we didn't have these huge birds, we'd be knee-deep in dead animals.   high-res

Here we have a Turkey Buzzard/Vulture on a telephone pole, and it's been beaten up badly, perhaps from a coyote attack. It can still fly, but poorly, and the feathers are a wreck.   high-res

Suddenly, a female Turkey Vulture arrives and lands on the other end of the cross bar ...   high-res

As the wounded bird approaches the large female, she regurgitates food into her mouth and the wounded bird sticks his beak in her mouth and eats. This is the usual feeding procedure she uses for her young.   high-res

... and then she's off ... soaring in circles over the hayfields searching for more food for the wounded one.   high-res

March 2018, a group of Turkey Vultures were cleaning up a roadkilled possum on a partly cloudy day. Each time the sun came out, several of the birds would line up, completely blocking the road, and spread their wings to absorb the sun's warmth.   high-res

In June 2019, we watched this proud Turkey Vulture strutting back to his possum roadkill after being chased away by traffic.   high-res

Here he turns and hisses at me. Buzzards do not have vocal chords so they cannot make normal bird calls, so they make a guttural hiss instead.   high-res

After a few bites of his lunch, he is again chased away by approaching traffic, so he launches into the air. Notice the 10,000 flies being blasted away by the wind from his powerful wings.   high-res

The Turkey Vulture or Turkey Buzzard, Mother Nature's clean-up crew.

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