Birds Living by Richard Stade - RStade

Turkey Vulture – Soaring

Cathartes aura

February – Texas

L=26”...... WS=67”....... WT=4 lb Order: Ciconiiformes (Herons, Ibises, Storks, New World Vultures, Allies) Family: Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

Vultures have naked heads and necks which allows them to insert their heads into dead animals without fouling feathers. While they prefer fresh dead they will eat animals in differing degrees of putrefaction. Since the availability of carrion is uncertain, vultures have adapted the ability to eat large quantities of food and then go several days before eating again. Turkey Vultures hunt by sight and smell, a trait most unusual for birds. This ability to smell allows Turkey Vultures to hunt in woodland settings where purely visual hunting would be impossible.