Thursday, May 1, 2008

Turkey Vultures

I almost never stop during a ride but last night I came upon something pretty crazy. I saw some giant birds hanging out in a tree above the river. I have seen some pretty big random birds but to see 15 or so of em together was really amazing.

Anyhow, I got online to identify these big old black birds and I think I probably saw some Turkey Vultures...aka...Buzzards. Dang, I wish I'd have had my camera!

They are some pretty amazing animals so I'll leave you with some interesting facts about em:

Turkey Vultures live and work together, in cooperation and friendliness. They communicate with friends and neighbors when they find something to eat. They let the others know where the food is. When there is a big feast they communicate with neighboring flocks in distant roosts.

They enjoy playing games, too. Almost every evening when they return to the roost there will be about half an hour of follow-the-leader, tag, and speed soaring, if the winds are favorable.

Thermoregulation is the name of the game. Turkey vultures allow their body temperature to drop in the evenings. So, in order to prepare for flight the next morning they spread their wings in the sun to warm up. They can also get to hot. To battle over heating, turkey vultures will defecate on their legs. When the defecation evaporates, it cools them off. How conservation minded can an animal be!?!

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