Nikon D300s, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HS         

I came across this Turkey Vulture a couple days ago while driving down the winding road to Finley’s Landing at the Mississippi River. The bird stood on a boulder beside a bridge that crosses the creek, which carved this little side valley of the big river. I’m glad I had the camera on the passenger seat, ready to shoot. The vulture gave me about twenty seconds to stop the car, lower the window, and finally make a few clicks. It is very rare to see a vulture beside the road in a decent setting. Mostly they feed on some roadkill and that is not always pretty. I don’t know what this one was after but I’m happy the bird gave me the chance to get real close before it took off.

The Turkey Vultures migrate south during the winter but we have seen the first ones back here already in late March. They are some of the most elegant flyers and have a very sophisticated immune system that protects them from disease associated with decaying animals.