Turkey Vulture


Turkey Vulture

The stately Turkey Vulture makes an impactful appearance as it slowly glides in lazy circles high above the Urban Forest on a sunny day. This massive scavenger, with a wing span of six feet, rarely flaps its wings, conserving energy by riding on thermal updrafts of air, holding its broad dark wings in a V formation, known as a dihedral, and gently rocking while surveying the broad expanse below. They rely heavily on their extraordinarily keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They fly low enough to detect the gasses produced by the early process of decay in dead animals and have been known to smell carrion from over a mile away.

As a consummate scavenger, they clean up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time. Once one Turkey Vulture discovers a fresh carcass, others will soon join in, picking the remains clean and thereby helping to keep the ecosystem healthy and disease free. It is vital that carcasses fed upon are free of Rodenticides or other man-made contaminants so that this ecological relationship continues to flourish.

The average Turkey Vulture lives 20 years or more and congregates nightly to sleep in large communal roosts.In the early morning hours you may see Turkey Vultures sunbathing in a tree with their wings spread out. This is done to increase their body temperature after a cool night.

They will then head out on their far-ranging daily foraging flights after the sun has sufficiently warmed the ground and thermal updrafts of air begin to occur.

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Bird of the month flyer

Betty Kanne

Betty Kanne is a passionate birder based in Huntington Beach, California, known for her captivating "Bird of the Month" features authored for the HB Tree Society. With a keen eye and a deep appreciation for avian life, Betty brings to life the diverse array of bird species that call the Huntington Beach area home.

Betty's contributions play a vital role in raising awareness about the importance of birds in our ecosystems. Her dedication to sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for birding inspires others to engage with nature and become stewards of their local environment, fostering a deeper connection between the community and the rich avian diversity of Huntington Beach, California.

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