Turkey Vulture

One of the largest birds you’ll find on the Salem Middle School campus is the Turkey Vulture:

Turkey_vulture_bluff

(Original image licensed Creative Commons Attribution)

 

What he looks like: The North American Turkey Vulture is a large bird with bodily features such as brownish-black feathers, flight feathers with a glossy, silver-looking underside, a miniscule and bare head in comparison to its body, a short, ivory-colored, hooked beak, and bare pink-skinned legs. Standing as a very prominent feature, its irises are dark, grey brown.

Where you’ll see him:  Turkey Vultures like to hang out high in dead and/or leafless trees.  They’re not a big fan of forests, however. Here at Salem, that means you’re likely to see him in the woods behind our school.  When you see him, don’t be surprised if he’s standing with his wings open like the picture above.  Turkey Vultures do this to dry their wings. 

What he sounds like: The Turkey Vulture seems to lack many vocal abilities compared to most birds native to North Carolina. It tends to use hisses and series of grunts. Hisses are used to scare away predators like eagles or is expressed in fright, where as grunts are used to as a mating call.

His relationship with humans and the environment: The Turkey Vulture is commonly accused for the transportation of numerous livestock diseases including anthrax and hog cholera. They are often unwanted by farmers because they have a tendency to kill and feast on newborn cattle. Their droppings can be toxic enough to kill vegetation and wildlife.

 

To learn more visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_Vulture

 

Summary by Dawson D.

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