Saturday, September 22, 2012

Turkey Vultures

I was walking through the Indian Grass when a passing shadow indicated that I was being overflown by a Turkey Vulture.  An upward glance revealed two of the birds doing broad circles as they drifted across the field.  At certain times, laziness is an appropriate response to a fortuitous situation.  I stretched out in the grass to watch the birds.  This is something I’m not able to do when near the road or in the yard, because people tend to assume I’ve dropped dead and they stop to investigate.

The Turkey Vulture is probably the largest bird that people around here can regularly observe.  Even though I see them almost daily, I always take a moment to watch as they fly over.

It’s interesting how their look changes with the angle of the light.  When viewed in the air, the vulture of most often backlit making the pattern beneath the wing difficult to see.  While turning, the pale patch beneath the wing can catch the sunlight and give an unexpectedly bright flash.

Once in the air, Turkey Vultures seemingly glide forever.  There was a pretty strong wind blowing when I took these pictures, but you couldn’t tell by watching the birds.  They maintained the same speed whether going upwind, downwind or crosswind.

This one checked its forward speed and paused briefly to move its head back and forth.  It was probably trying to pick up the scent of its next meal.  There must not have been anything appetizing, because the birds drifted on out of the field and over the ridge.  That called an end to my lazy spell and I got up and continued on my way.


  1. Beautiful images and you gave me a good laugh this morning. I guess lying in the grass would concern well-meaning passers by. :)

  2. HI Steve...Gosh I haven't been by to see you since the Pipe Organ nests...I am totally caught up and am happy that I didn't have any snake surprises!! : } I wasn't to happy about the spiders..they just give me the shivers..eeeks!
    I am so glad you are concerned about the passers-by thinking you had passed away right there before them, but for me I would be more concerned that they would keep on going thinking "OH" that's just that crazy lady, an I would be dead LOL!!!
    Okay...I do love to watch the Turkey Vultures too! With such ease they just glide...almost mesmerizing to watch!! I see them daily to, and when they are circling over the house I do get a little concerned that perhaps I am dead, and starting to smell : }}
    You got some great picture of them!!

  3. Thanks Lois.

    Hi Grace. I haven't seen any snakes for a while, except for the snake that crawls out of the water garden every morning to soak up some sun. I'll be sure to get pictures if I see any new ones. I'm sure a nice snake picture would make you forget about a headache.

  4. I think they're beautiful in flight.

  5. Hi Pat. I'll bet there are plenty of these down your way.

  6. My wife and I love watching the turkey vultures also, up in Richland County. Every time I see their graceful soaring I think, "Wouldn't it be fun to be a turkey vulture for a day?" Except, of course, at meal time!

    Larry Smith

  7. Hi Larry. I've had similar thoughts, but I never imagined coming down for a meal.