The Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture Feeding
Turkey Vulture Feeding

While driving around BK Leach Conservation Area this spring, we came across a Turkey Vulture feeding on a raccoon carcass.  Did you know that the Turkey Vulture has the most advanced olfactory system of any known bird?  They can pick up the smell of a rotting animal from more than a mile away.  As shown below, we noticed the bird would attempt to cover up its meal when it spotted other vultures soaring nearby.

It's all mine!
It’s all mine!

Turkey Vultures can often be seen with their wings widely spread in what is referred to as an “horaltic pose”.  The benefits of doing this are not entirely known but have been hypothesized to be an aid in warming the birds and helping to dry feathers.  The bird posing in the shot below was taken one morning while I was hiking at Shaw Nature Reserve.

Horaltic Poser
Horaltic Poser

Finally, I thought I would share some video footage that this patient bird let us take whilst it was digging into some coon.


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