Friday, September 19, 2014

Roadkill Cafe - Party of Fifteen

Last Saturday, driving home from work, I came up a rise over by the college and saw a large mass of darkness on the side of the road.  It turned out to be fifteen turkey vultures!!!


I was so excited - not only were there SO MANY of them, but they were RIGHT THERE!   A young deer had been hit by a car and its carcass was lying on the lawn, the birds (possibly a family group or two) had come in to feast.  Occasionally one would hop up on the body.  A few feet away, in the sun, three or four birds had their wings spread out.  Catching a few rays for warmth, or to help bake off parasites?

I was so fortunate that no one else was on the road (very unusual) - I was able to sit there for 5-10 minutes taking photos and video.  Eventually a car did come, though, and the birds took off, one by one.

Turkey vultures are really one of the very cool birds.  No feathers on their heads - so they can stick their heads into rotting flesh to eat and not worry about parasites getting stuck in their feathers.  Pee on their legs to keep cool.  Projectile vomiting to drive away pestering critters and people.  They are truly amazing, and along with crows, opossums, and other carrion-eaters, they make up Nature's sanitation crews.  We should do them homage.