Van Coleman

Ashland, United States

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Best viewed large.
This is a “VULTURE IN FLIGHT.” Also known as “Cathartes aura,” or “Turkey Vulture.”
Soaring high in the sky over much of North America is the dark, long-winged form of the Turkey Vulture.
This efficient scavenger quickly disposes of the carcasses of dead animals. Most birds are believed to have a very poor sense of smell, but the Turkey Vulture is an exception, apparently able to find carrion by odor.
The vulture depicted here is between 26 and 32 inches long and has a wing span of almost 6 feet.
This bird soars in flight with wings in a dihedral (a shallow V); rocks and tilts unsteadily. At close range the small naked red head of the adult is evident (like a turkey); immature birds have blackish heads.
The turkey vulture migrates in flocks, and may travel long distances without feeding; some migrate long distances, reaching South America.
The diet of the turkey vulture is mostly carrion, and it feeds mainly on dead animals but actually prefers fresh carrion. Occasional feeds are on decaying vegetable matter, live insects, or live fish in drying-up ponds.
In flight the vulture is often looking for carrion by soaring over open or partly wooded country, watching the ground and the actions of other scavengers. The turkey vulture can locate some carrion by odor: unlike most birds, this one has a well-developed sense of smell.
Nesting sites are in sheltered areas, such as inside hollow trees or logs, in crevices in cliffs, under rocks, in caves, inside dense thickets, or in old buildings. Young turkey vultures begin their first flight when they are 9-10 weeks old.
Photo taken with my Canon Digital EOS 40D camera, using my Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto zoom lens.

Artwork Comments

  • KazM
  • Van Coleman
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  • Ray Clarke
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  • Mike Arnott
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