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.


  1. I just found your blog and I am so happy! You have beautiful photos here!

    1. Thank you, Ava, and welcome! I don't get much time to blog any more, do be sure to read thru my old posts from when I was still in NY. :)

  2. Only you, My Darling Daughter, will focus upon the good to be found in all living creatures (great and small, refined and revolting!). How I wish so many more were like you. Great images, fantastic experience -- but tell me, where can we import some turkey vultures to help with our many and varied "blue plate specials" at the CNY Roadkill Cafes? I know we have them around here, but not in great numbers and things are getting a tad messy along the roadsides; the crows cannot keep up and there aren't all that many "pelt collectors" who want to go through the "purifying and refining" process to create fly tying material. On my trip to today's PHWFV at the Onondaga Cty hatchery, I have found evidence that the annual great migration of skunks to the middle of the roads and highways has begun. I hope that some made it across the pavement. Love, Dad

  3. I didn't know they peed on their legs.. ~Erika in NH ps Love your Dad's message , makes me miss mine so much..