Turkey for Turkeys

I took this through a window, but you get the idea.

I roasted a big turkey the other day, and before we went to bed, I tossed the neck out on our lawn, hoping the foxes would enjoy it.

The next morning, it was still untouched, but it wasn’t long before our neighborhood crows were enjoying the feast. Their pleasure was short-lived. Suddenly, in swooped a turkey vulture, about 4 times the size of the crows. We all know that in nature, might equals right, and the crows roosted in a nearby tree, voicing their  indignation as the vulture tore away at the meat.

We never had turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) in Quebec when I lived there, (they have  since moved in because it’s so much warmer now) but they are common here in RI. They are mostly but not always carrion-eating birds, that spend much of their time soaring in the air, looking for a meal. They  have excellent eyesight and a very keen sense of smell which helps them find their food, but their feet are weak, so they can’t pick up things and carry them away. Instead, they usually stand on their meal to eat it.

Many people revile them. After all, they are not the most charismatic and attractive of birds. They smell awful, and will even throw up on you if they are stressed. That said, they fill an important ecological niche, cleaning up  dead animals along our roads and elsewhere.

I think they look kind of cool, and those featherless heads perfectly adapted for the job they do.

For my readers who celebrate Thanksgiving, have a wonderful holiday. I am thankful for you!

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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7 Responses to Turkey for Turkeys

  1. cj wright says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, dirtynailz. I’m very grateful to you for continuing the blog when you were considering giving up a while back. You’ve taught me a lot about the pleasures of gardening and our natural world.

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  2. cj wright says:

    🙂 Big smiles.

    Like

  3. How cool to have a vulture that close up!!!! and they are bigger than the black vultures which are more common in the South!!! Glad you won’t be eating Vulture!!! I’m looking forward to a nice turkey dinner, too!! love your observations of nature!! Great job!!

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    • dirtynailz says:

      As you know, it looks way bigger in person than it does in the photo. I guess many people would NOT think vultures are cool. But of course, you and I know differently.

      Thanks, Rosie and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  4. I have never seen a turkey vultures; very cool-looking bird. Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

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