There are times when I go out to photograph that I find that there is a “bird du jour”, yesterday the birds du jour were Turkey Vultures for me in northern Utah. I took way too many images of several approachable roadside Turkey Vultures sunning, preening, scratching and resting but I am happy with the photos of the birds. Some of the vultures looked regal perched in the morning light.
Some of the Turkey Vultures preened and fluffed to start their day. They have to keep their feathers in good condition to soar on the thermals in search of food.
One of the Turkey Vultures kept scratching something on its chin, I never did see what was bothering it but it scratched its chin at least three times while I photographed it.
And it also spent time hunched over while it cleaned it feathers one at time and stared right at me. I’m glad I am not “food” because that beak looks sharp.
A few Turkey Vulture facts:
- Turkey Vultures are scavengers and will soar in the air until their keen sense of smell detects dead animals also known as carrion. They will also eat lizards, fish, small mammals and invertebrates.
- Turkey Vultures are migratory. During the warmer months they can be found in most of areas of the U.S. and extreme southern Canada. They winter in the southern U.S. plus Mexico, Central and South America.
- Turkey Vultures lay 1 to 3 eggs which hatch in 38 to 41 days. Both sexes incubate and they are monogamous.
- A group of vultures can be called a “meal”, “vortex”, “wake”, “committee” or “cast” of vultures. Nicknames include “turkey buzzard”, “John Crow” and “carrion crow”.
- Turkey Vultures can live up to 17 years or more.
Some of the resting Turkey Vultures laid down on their perches and reminded me of how chickens lay down to rest on their bellies. It really didn’t look like it would be all that comfortable to me but I am not a bird so what do I know.
This one laid its breast down on a red gate and seemed content to rest while I photographed it from the other side of the road.
Until another vulture hopped up onto the gate and then this one decided to spread its wings and sun itself in the warmth of the morning light.
The biting gnats (no-see-ums) were tearing me up and I wondered if they bothered the Turkey Vultures at all.
And I was also able to get a close up of this vulture standing on a lichen covered rock. I’m glad I had the time and opportunity to photograph the Turkey Vultures yesterday, they might not be beautiful in everyone’s eyes but they are great birds and these were all willing subjects.
Life is good.