Turkey Vultures aka Turkey Buzzards

/, Box Elder County, Turkey Vultures, Utah/Turkey Vultures aka Turkey Buzzards

Adult Turkey Vulture in morning light, Box Elder County, UtahAdult Turkey Vulture in morning light – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I grew up calling Turkey Vultures by the name “Turkey Buzzards” and every once in a blue moon I still unintentionally slip and call them by their nickname instead of their proper common name. I’m not going to feel bad about slipping up though, stuff happens. I don’t actually remember the first time I saw a Turkey Vulture but I do remember seeing them as a small girl living in southern Georgia and Florida picking up and eating carrion from the sides of the road. Back then I thought their choice of food was more than a little disgusting, especially if I could smell it, but I found the birds themselves to be interesting and huge compared to my small size.

Today there are times I even go so far as to think that Turkey Vultures are regal looking and I know that there are people out there that would disagree with me but looking at the photo above I do think this bird is “regal looking”.

Back view of an adult Turkey Vulture, Box Elder County, UtahBack view of an adult Turkey Vulture – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

At times I even think they are mysterious looking too. I don’t think of them as ugly and I appreciate them for what they are and do.

I took these Turkey Vulture photos yesterday morning and I was happy that this vulture and the one perched a few feet away on another fence post decided to stick around long enough for me to take images of both of them in the soft morning light.

Adult Turkey Vulture in flight over sage, rabbitbrush and grasses, Box Elder County, UtahAdult Turkey Vulture in flight over sage, rabbitbrush and grasses – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

When I noticed that one of the Turkey Vultures appearing like it might take flight I quickly took off my teleconverter so I wouldn’t clip wing tips and body parts so when it did take flight I was able to take photos of the one bird while it flew low over the sage, rabbitbrush and grasses. I love it when a plan works out!

Life is good. Birds make it better.



  1. Jane Chesebrough April 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Not the prettiest thing, but great detail in the feathers and such a joy to watch their beauty in flight.

  2. Elephants Child April 27, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I wish we had them here. Whatever they were called.

  3. Ken Schneider April 27, 2018 at 11:37 am

    You captured the feather detail on the roosting vulture very nicely. I remember being puzzled as a kid when I saw that in Europe they gave the “buzzard” name to hawks that looked like our Red-tail.

  4. Chris April 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Your photos Mia, as always, are superb!

  5. Marty K April 27, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I think vultures and condors are quite handsome birds and especially beautiful in flight. You’ve definitely captured those qualities here, Mia. That flight shot is really something!

  6. Laura Culley April 27, 2018 at 7:43 am

    I’d certainly agree with “regal.” I love vultures and I’m delighted that I can see them in my sky again. When I was out hunting with Jack, the local vultures would soar overhead to check him out then go on about their vulture business. Neither paid much attention to the other, but I felt lucky to see the vulture(s) up close and personal. At my age, I also paid attention to looking alive as they inspected us 😉 No, I’m not done yet!

  7. Bob mcpherson April 27, 2018 at 7:08 am

    I grew up calling them buzzards also. Beautiful photos Mia

  8. KathyGrahek April 27, 2018 at 5:47 am

    Your photos of the Vulture are beautiful, especially the first one. You captured it perfectly actually making him look quite attractive. ‘Nature’s Sanitation Crew’ is usually what I refer them to be…very necessary.

  9. Liz Cormack April 27, 2018 at 5:25 am

    I have many, many photos of Turkey Vultures as I think they are beautiful in their own way.

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