Flight Of The Turkey Buzzard. Photography And Text By Keith R Wahl

November 11, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Flying Turkey Vulture

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Flying Turkey Vulture 20211107 850_3114Flying Turkey VultureA Turkey Vulture seeking its carrion as it circles over a farm

Turkey Vultures are a usual sight in Southern New England. Rhode Island in this case. Driving or walking near farms and other hiking trail areas in the woods they are a usual bird as seen overhead as they look for carrion to feed upon.

And for their wide wingspread and brutish faces, they are very interesting birds. So we will detail a few facts with these photos.

Approach Of The Turkey Buzzard

Approach Of The Turkey Buzzard 20211107 850_3111Approach Of The Turkey BuzzardA Turkey Vulture seeking its carrion as it circles over a farm

  • The turkey vulture is a relative of the Stork.

  • Their name in Latin (Cathartes aura) means “cleansing breeze.”

  • Their feet are closer to that of a chicken instead of a hawk or an eagle. Their feet cannot tear into prey. Their powerful beaks can tear through even the toughest hide.

  • They feed by thrusting their heads into the body cavities of rotting animals.

  • They are able to smell carrion from over a mile away. The turkey vulture has the largest olfactory system of all birds.

Turkey Vulture Above

Turkey Vulture Above 20211107 850_3108Turkey Vulture AboveA Turkey Vulture seeking its carrion as it circles over a farm

  • They are "fussy" eaters preferring meat as fresh as possible. They won’t eat extremely rotting carcasses. They can smell carrion only 12-24 hours old.
  • Early in the day turkey vultures sunbathe in trees or fields with their wings spread out. This is to increase their body temperature after a cool night.

  • Turkey vultures gather in the mornings of spring or fall are preparing to migrate. Vultures seen in the evening have arrived in the area that day and are preparing to roost for the night.

  • Turkey vultures can travel up to 200 miles in a day.

  • Turkey vultures average 2-1/2 feet tall with a 6-foot wingspan but they only weigh about 3 pounds.

Turkey Buzzard In Flight

Turkey Buzzard In Flight 20211107 850_3112Turkey Buzzard In FlightA Turkey Vulture seeking its carrion as it circles over a farm

  • Turkey vultures are also referred to as Turkey Buzzards. "Buzzards" is the British name for certain hawks.

  • Turkey vultures live up to 24 years of age.

  • Turkey vultures help clean up the environment. They eat the flesh of dead animals before it rots and causes disease.

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© Keith R Wahl, Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keith R Wahl and Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery with appropriate and specific direction to the original.