Turkey Vultures unite

We have a flock of Turkey Vultures that live in the trees by our house during the spring and summer. Every evening they will land in the tree tops and rustle around getting comfy. It’s something Lee and I look forward to every year.

About two years ago we noticed them out in the field near the chicken house. The chickens were concerned. We couldn’t figure out what they were doing until I realized they were eating some nasty eggs I had thrown over the fence.

We rarely see them up close with anything other then a zoom lens. That briefly changed last week. We had lost a gosling to the portable electric fencing and didn’t have time to bury it as we were leaving for the evening. Lee laid the poor thing in the back yard so he could bury it in the morning. The next morning, he got a huge surprise when he opened the door to let the cat in.

Feasting on a dead gosling

The Turkey Vultures had apparently discovered that their breakfast was waiting right below. They worked on the carcass all morning. When they left for the day we walked over to see what was left and were shocked. There was an explosion of feathers and a pair of legs. We actually argued about what happened to all the other bones until the next day, when I walked out the door and startled a lone Turkey Vulture who then flew off with a half-eaten leg. That kind of creeped me out, as I could imagine walking under the trees one day and having a bone fall on my head.

King of feather munchers

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8 Responses to Turkey Vultures unite

  1. ..sounds sort of like the movie ‘Jeepers Creepers’..

    when I saw the title ‘Turkey Vultures unite’ in my head I conjured an image of the turkey vultures combining like Voltron and a huge turkey vulture then fighting a 300ft moth who could walk upright and shoot lasers out of its mouth..but then again I lost most of my youth to anime.

    We had to be careful with thrown eggs after a bear made a visit to the homestead one night last month.

    • lee says:

      Giant moths might be more anime appropriate, but I think Vultron’s nemesis would be a giant zombie roadkill monster. “We should have known not to bury all the roadkill near that nuclear power plant. Who will save us … ?”

      Wow! I guess bear-proof egg disposal is next on the ToDo list, eh? Bear aren’t exactly a big problem here. Robin’s uncle saw one in his backyard a few weeks ago, but they live way up in the hills. Down on the flat land where we live raccoons are the most common threat to your chickens.

  2. Snowbrush says:

    I should think that I would enjoy having them around. When I was a child, my mother had me run indoors anytime buzzards (no one in the South calls them vultures) flew overhead because she said they dropped germs. She was like that, but she also made fun of a boy we knew who used a handkerchief to open doors. As for bones dropping on your head, I don’t recall seeing buzzards eat in trees, but I guess there’s nothing to stop them.

    “The chickens were concerned.”

    Next thing you know, they’re have a battery of cannon and be contracting for missiles.

    • lee says:

      We like having the vultures too and I don’t worry about them dropping germs or leg bones. There are too many trees around here to see where the vulture took his snack.

      I’d like to think our chickens are reasonably cautious, but not given to preemptive strikes. Vultures like their prey to be cold first, so they aren’t a threat to the chickens. It’s much worse to have Bald Eagles living in your trees.

  3. Ali says:

    Earlier this spring, I was driving by the cemetery one morning, heading for work, when I saw a large flock of turkey vultures perched on the monuments and in the trees. Naturally, I screeched to a halt and took some photos. I’ll have to post them on Henbogle. I thought it was cool, but others were kind of freaked out.

    I’m sorry about your poor gosling.

    • robin says:

      Ha, that would tickle my sense of morbid I think. One time we were in Bend and we saw a HUGE flock of turkey vultures along side a busy road working on a deer. It was so impressive that we turned around and parked along the road to try and get shots of them. Somehow that freaked them out. Why I don’t know as all the cars zipping by didn’t phase them. We never did get good shot of them all.

      Lee has a love/hate affair with the portable netting. It’s so handy but when something goes wrong it sure makes you feel guilty. The last gosling is huge now.

  4. ShimFarm says:

    I love turkey vultures and think they’re magnificent, even if a bit morbid. One thing I’ve never figured out though: they don’t seem to find the still-born calves one of our neighbours dumps on his property line. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

    • robin says:

      How weird. I would think they would be all over that as they only like fresh dead meat. Turkey vultures have never bothered me and I love that they are the garbage men of the animal world. It’s a nasty job but someone has to do it… ­čśÇ

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