Monday, April 5, 2010

Turkey Vultures

A turkey vulture gliding through the air...
...and landing in a tree at Starved Rock State Park.
I've never seen them this close, before!  In the wild, that is!  At first, they flew really low to the ground, then soared higher above us before they descended again to rest in the trees.
Yup, there were two of them.  They are usually seen in numbers. 

Turkey vultures are interesting creatures. They can only hiss or grunt because they lack a syrinx.  Having a very keen sense of smell, they mainly eat carrion, but sometimes will eat fruit.  Nests are not built--eggs are laid in hollow trees, on cliffs, in caves, or even in abandoned buildings. If they can't fly away, turkey vultures will hiss and vomit undigested food to deter the few predators they have.  And to cool themselves down, they will defecate on their own legs!  This gives a new meaning to "dirty bird"!!!  --LKR

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