An Exceptionally Obliging Turkey Vulture in Box Elder County

/, Box Elder County, Turkey Vultures, Utah/An Exceptionally Obliging Turkey Vulture in Box Elder County

Cooperative Turkey VultureCooperative Turkey Vulture – Nikon D810, f9, 1/800, ISO 320, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

After getting up at o’dark hundred yesterday morning I drove up to northern Utah and on the way watched as darkness became twilight then twilight as it became dawn. I was heading north to find owls, Short-eared Owls in particular and Burrowing Owls too because they have begun to perch higher in the mornings instead of staying right at the edge of their burrows which makes them easier to locate.

And I found them. Lots of them!

So why am I posting a Turkey Vulture instead of owls?

Turkey Vulture portraitTurkey Vulture portrait – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Because I found an exceptionally obliging Turkey Vulture in Box Elder County warming up in the morning sun. It wasn’t skittish, it wasn’t nervous, the light on it was wonderful and then there is my belief that vultures are often overlooked. So this vulture is show-cased on my post this morning.

The owls will have to wait.

Turkey Vulture warming in the sunTurkey Vulture warming in the sun – Nikon D810, f11, 1/500, ISO 4000, -1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

After about 5 minutes it seemed that the Turkey Vulture wasn’t going to do much so I headed down the road and hoped that the vulture would be there when I came back up the road and that it would be doing some thing interesting.

Turkey Vulture rousingTurkey Vulture rousing – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

When I came back to the same location almost an hour later the Turkey Vulture was still there plus the light was good so I stopped and took many more images of the vulture. The vulture seemed far more active and I photographed it as it roused.

Fluffy Turkey VultureFluffy Turkey Vulture – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And settled its feathers back into place.

Turkey Vulture wing stretchTurkey Vulture wing stretch – Nikon D810, f9, 1/640, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Then it started to stretch one wing out to the side as it also fanned its tail.

Turkey Vulture stretching one wingTurkey Vulture stretching one wing – Nikon D810, f9, 1/640, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Until its right wing was fully extended showing the lightness of the underside of its primaries and secondaries. I laughed to myself because it almost looked like the vulture was directing traffic in this pose.

Pooping Turkey VulturePooping Turkey Vulture – Nikon D810, f9, 1/640, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And then it pooped all over the ground next to the fence post it was perched on.

Adult Turkey Vulture side viewAdult Turkey Vulture side view – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And gave me a great view of its side for a bit.

Turkey Vulture over the shoulder lookTurkey Vulture over the shoulder look – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Plus an over the shoulder look at me. I thought the vulture might preen at this point.

Turkey Vulture with raised wingsTurkey Vulture with raised wings – Nikon D810, f9, 1/400, ISO 250, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

But it turned towards me and raised both of it wings over its body bilaterally which showed the warm brown plumage of the scapulars and coverts.

Turkey Vulture on one footTurkey Vulture on one foot – Nikon D810, f8, 1/800, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

After that great wing lift it started to scratch its head with its foot. While it scratched it had the nictitating membrane overs its eye the whole time.

Turkey Vulture wing liftTurkey Vulture wing lift – Nikon D810, f8, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR  with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And finally before it took flight it turned sideways and gave me another nice series of images of a bilateral wing lift. When it did this I should have removed my teleconverter because when it lifted off I clipped every one of the images and was disappointed in myself.

I’ve never had a Turkey Vulture be this obliging before. I believe it didn’t mind the woman with the one glass eye watching it get ready for its day.

Life is good.

Mia

15 Comments

  1. Bev Danis May 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

    This is the Angelina Jolie of Turkey Vultures! Working for the camera!

  2. Jane Shipp May 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    That Turkey Vulture is one handsome dude! Great shots.

  3. Elephant's Child May 14, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I love that you feature them. Such necessary birds. Such undervalued birds…

  4. Jeane Bice May 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks mucho, Mia. What a treat for one who has for years seen TVs as
    mad birds by the flock or else furtive feasters. Johnny, Albuquerque NM

  5. Linda Laugen May 14, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Mia and Liz – This bird must have “show” business in his blood!

  6. April Olson May 14, 2016 at 11:20 am

    In My opinion all birds are wonderful, thank you for capturing some lovely behaviors.

  7. Utahbooklover May 14, 2016 at 8:14 am

    I enjoyed your generous post. I usually see them inflight, so this was a nice change.

  8. Jerry Ellison May 14, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Only a mother could love a face like that…still, an integral part of nature and wonderful shots. Jer

  9. Patty Chadwick May 14, 2016 at 7:53 am

    WOW! What a great series! That bird did just about everything a bird could do for you! One of my favorite frames is the third shot where you can see the barringon the bird’s left wing feathers. I wasn’t aware that they had any barring anywhere before. I hope you got some owl shots, too, but these ate wonderful…

  10. Ken May 14, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Great shots! When raptors and vultures are this cooperative I always think they must be well fed and contented.

    Ken

  11. Greg Ogden May 14, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Fun commentary great shots of a beautiful animal / bird / Turkey Vulture

  12. Liz Cormack May 14, 2016 at 6:47 am

    It’s almost as if the vulture was performing for you. Fantastic shots.

  13. Bob McPherson May 14, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Beautiful images Mia. It seems he was posing fashionably for you.

  14. Steven Kessel May 14, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Great series! I love vultures, Turkeys and Blacks, they are among my favorite subjects to photograph.

    Regards, Steve

Comments are closed.