Totally captivated in 2007 by the live camera feed of the Hornby Island nesting Bald Eagles in B.C., I was drawn into birding and have never looked back. Thus begins my account of what I'm fortunate enough to discover each day and perhaps capture with my camera.

Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by and are the property of Janice Melendez

Species Counts:

2014 Final Year List: 255; 2015 Year List a/o June 5, 2015: 235; Life List: 327

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Treasure Trove of Turkey Vultures

Having just seen my first Turkey Vulture for the year a few days ago and in anticipation of seeing the skies filled once again with these rocking characters that I adore, I reflect back on an extraordinary encounter with them last October in the Kawarthas.

It was a dismally dreary day that I had chosen to back-road ahead of the cottage season winding down. Once again I found myself heading towards one of my favorite dumps FREAK on the north side of the lake, but I never made it there, as I stumbled upon some serious scavenging action right in front of me. Little did I know at the time how much fun I was going to have as I swiftly navigated one of my U-turns to investigate a Turkey Vulture, at eye-level, no less:

Another one flies in to land on a fence next to my car...

...and makes itself comfortable, despite the drizzle that has now seriously transitioned to rain that runs off its back:

The Main Event, or rather Course, was a deceased raccoon that appealed to the scavenging side of these Turkey Vultures: 

A coy shoulder glance from the one on the fence...

...and then a further head turn as it checks me out in my car: 


A different Turkey Vulture got bumped from the carcass and lands on the fence:

One of the immatures flies in, wanting to get in on the scavenging action with its elders:

But back to this one: when reviewing my photos I noticed white stringy things on its face and head feathers, most likely raccoon innards? I knew exactly where that head had been:

Looking towards me again, the sound of my four-way flashers seems to intrigue it. Or not. It just wants another go at the roadkill feeding trough:  

Another view of  the Turkey Vulture with its prized possession for the afternoon, with a better look at its pale legs and feet. I learned today from some of my bird guides that Vulture beaks and talons aren't as strong as those raptors that catch live prey, and in fact Vulture feet don't carry food all that well either, so food is transported back to the nest inside their crops, which is regurgitated to the young. Charming, yet an effective concept!

By now the garbage trucks, en route to the nearby dump, were beginning to stream by me, so off I went, leaving the Turkey Vultures with their meal, only to discover even more perched high up in trees along the road, waiting their turn:

An immature's head-on glance:

I can't wait to see what close encounters this year may bring for me with Turkey Vultures, even though I'll be just as thrilled to see them kettling in huge numbers at any one of my favorite dumps!

1 comment:

skip said...

Terrific images, Janice. Trying to refrain from cheap jokes about your TV addiction. Failing, obviously.