The Buzzard Tree

Rhonda Strickland

Sun City, United States

Artist's Description

Views: 355 as of 10-30-12 – original photo taken with a Kodak EZS 915ZMax

This is a compilation of a few photos I shot one day of our local buzzard tree. For a year or so these birds have been roosting in 2 large eucalyptus trees on one of our main streets in the community of Canyon Lake, CA, USA. The trees are in someone’s front yard which is probably quite messy. I sat across the street one late afternoon just photographing these birds coming in to roost for the night. They are quite amazing… a bit ugly but very cool to watch.

The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a bird found throughout most of the Americas. It is also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard (or just buzzard), and in some areas of the Caribbean as the John crow or carrion crow.2 One of three species in the genus Cathartes, in the family Cathartidae, the Turkey Vulture is the most widespread of the New World vultures,3 ranging from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. It inhabits a variety of open and semi-open areas, including subtropical forests, shrublands, pastures, and deserts.1

It, like all new world “vultures”, is not a “true vulture” in the sense of being related to the Old World vultures of Europe, Africa, and Asia. It looks nearly identical because of convergent evolution, where natural selection similarly shapes unrelated animals adapting to the same conditions.

The Turkey Vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion.4 It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals.4 In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses.5 It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation.6 It has very few natural predators.7 In the United States of America, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Info from Wikipedia

All my own original photos shot with a Kodak EZS 990Max. Post-processed in PSCS2 & DAP.

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