A Raw Deal

Spotting a kettle (a flock of vultures in flight) fast approaching, I pulled off in the breakdown lane of the highway, and waited.  These guys are so misunderstood but are really amazing birds.  They help with "clean-up" year round (not just in the Fall!).

Did you know:

-that a group of them is called a committee, volt or venue?

-they mate for life, although a surviving vulture will find another mate if the need arise.  

-that when feeding on a carcass, the group is known as a wake?  

-that they are relatively social? (although Black Vultures are more social than Turkey Vultures)

-that they pee on their legs to cool them in hot weather?

-that they have weak feet and legs which is why they cannot carry away prey?

-that they serve as garbage disposals (eliminating rotting flesh which would otherwise promote disease)

And you already knew that they have excellent sense of smell and sight, right?

So, then next time you see a few vultures, try to look at them in a "different light" and perhaps you'll see hints of silver on the underside of their wings.  If you do, that's a "TV", a nickname often used by birders.  However, contrasting silver on the underside of their wing tips would indicate a "BV."

NETN Species Spotlight - Turkey and Black Vultures (U.S. National Park  Service)   

  seeing, saying, and sharing...

A Raw Deal

with you and those at

Natures Notes 2


Ann said…
Lots of things I didn't know about vultures. I will say though that no matter how hot my legs get I will not ever ever pee on them.
I refer to the silver tips on black vulture wings as jazz hands. I've been seeing a lot of vultures lately migrating southward. The color along the wings and that dihedral lift to the wings of a TV are surefire and easy identifiers.
Ginny Hartzler said…
Wonderful flight pictures, this kind is not easy to snap. They are much needed birds, for sure. Nature's garbage men!
Michelle said…
Those are some interesting facts. They really do some important work in nature.
I was never a fan of vultures until we moved to the country and learned about their value and place in nature. I've watched them and they are an interesting "committee" and I had no idea that they have weak feet and legs -- That maybe explains all that hopping and flying they do.

THANKS for sharing those fun tidbits about them.
Stewart M said…
The amount I know about vultures has increased significantly thanks to this post! People are often to keen to give birds (and other animals) a bad image!

Hope all is well - Stewart M - Melbourne
I did not know all of those facts about turkey vultures.

One time I had a dead deer in my yard, that had been hit by a car, and CT DOT was late to pick it up, so then the turkey vultures showed up by day, and the coyotes by night, to make a meal out of it. :-(
Debbie said…
WoW!!! super cool facts, they are beautiful when in flight!!

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