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
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.