Nature clicks #145 - Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture 1  

Many people believe the Turkey Vulture is an ugly bird because of its naked head and neck. They feed mainly on carrion and this may not always be a pleasure to watch but it is the naked head and a very sophisticated immune system that protects them from disease associated with decaying animals. Their wingspan range is smaller than that of a Bald Eagle but it looks also very elegant when they soar over the slope of a valley or elsewhere. We have them here from spring to late fall and it is no surprise if we see sometimes more than 30 birds circling over an area.

I never thought it was easy to make a picture of a Turkey Vulture and have tried it many times before with mixed results. It needs some good light from underneath to get the details and without blowing out the sky if they are in flight.


Turkey Vulture feeding


This vulture was busy with a roadkill, a dead raccoon, when I approached it carefully by car. It is amazing how much power they have. This one dragged the carcass several feet while I watched it and tried to bring the car in a position where I could shoot out of the window. They are very shy and I had to come back three times before I was able to come close enough for at least some detail in its face. Being real close is mostly good for wildlife photography but I like this shot that is more of an environmental portrait. It shows the vulture with its main food source and clearly makes the statement that this country road in the Green Island Wetlands is part of the bird's habitat. Still more to come from last Sunday's excursion, so please stay tuned... :-)