31 Cool Bird Facts #22 – Turkey Vulture

Graceful in the sky, Turkey Vultures are far from ugly
Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture is often unappreciated even with their important role on the carrion clean-up crew. Although they will also sometimes eat crops and other vegetation, carrion comprises most of their diet. Turkey Vultures have a well-developed sense of smell (more than most other birds) to help them find their smelly food.

Cool Fact 1: Turkey vultures have been used to detect the location of natural gas leaks, because they will circle over the leak lured by the rotten-meat odor added to the gas. –Woodland Park Zoo

I am beautiful
Turkey Vulture

Cool Fact 2: One of a vulture’s frequently used defense mechanisms is to throw up. This accomplishes two things: It lightens its personal load and makes it easier to fly away and, at the same time, momentarily stuns, confuses or disgusts its potential predator. – WindStar Wildlife Institute

Vultures are portrayed in many comedic stereotypical forms as desert-circling-last-moment-before-death birds, ugly and stupid. But in reality, they are graceful fascinating creatures that help keep our environment clean and healthy.

5 thoughts on “31 Cool Bird Facts #22 – Turkey Vulture

  1. Vultures are wonderful & personally I think turkey vultures are the most graceful soarers I’ve ever seen. Always love to see them. 🙂

  2. Wow, interesting stuff! I didn’t know they’d be able to help detect gas leaks, though I must say watching someone throw up would disgust me too. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I do enjoy Turkey Vultures, but I have to disagree about the graceful soaring. With all that rocking and teetering, they look like they could fall out of the sky at any minute. Put it this way, Turkey Vultures soar about as gracefully as Brown Pelicans dive… Now your Black Vulture, there’s a bird with a rock-steady flight pattern. Thanks for these 31 posts – Hugh

  4. I like vultures, but I think on up-close views, beauty is in the eye of the beholder only if the beholder is another TV.

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