Have you ever seen so many Turkey Vultures returning in the Spring as there are these days? The other day, we counted more than twenty flying overhead, and a friend of ours claims to have seen a flock of fifty!
What do you know about these birds? How can we find out more about creatures we like to wonder about? And how can we improve our wild knowledge by observing, hanging out at the library and sharing what we know?
The Turkey Vultures have returned from their southern winter range. We’ve come to expect the return of these birds each Spring as common place. But they travel from the depths of tropical forests to get here, and their lives are largely unknown to us, even when they are here.
Not knowing much about these creatures, we set out on a walk through the city looking out for them. In no time, we spotted a few of these graceful gliders with their white wing tips spread wide. We followed a group of four East, along the Escarpment, towards Wentworth St.
Since then, we’ve been digging into some guide books and asking around about Turkey Vultures. Spending time in the library can be a great accompaniment to learning outdoors. In flipping through a guide book, we often learn tantilizing details we might not have even imagined to look for in the forest. This practice of following wonders into the library and then heading back outside armed with new knowldge is another core routine for building deeper connections with the land.
Some of the things we found out about Turkey Vultures are too good to not share here:
-Turkey Vultures are excellent at throwing up whenever they might need to. This is useful at times when a vulture has eaten a big, heavy meal of carrion (dead creatures) but suddenly needs to fly away fast to avoid danger
-Apparently, Turkey Vulture will defecate all over their legs to stay cool in Summer
-They have holes in their little red heads, at the tops of their beaks. This hole is a unique odour-sensing tool that allows them to smell the earliest stages of decay from far off
What do you know about these birds? Share what you know! We dare you to start at least one conversation about Turkey Vultures today.