Tuesday, May 8, 2012

B is for Buzzard



I see them everywhere out here in the country. Usually dining on the side of the road, they fly away and seem to miss my car by a mere millimeter. This day I spied these Vultures, or Turkey Buzzards, catching some rays on the top of a tin barn roof. I discovered that they love warmth and will ride thermal air drafts high in the sky for fun, not necessarily waiting for something to die. Buzzards can glide for over six miles and their wing span, that one that barely misses my windshield, can stretch up to six feet. 




Though I see them as somewhat ugly and frightening creatures, they cannot kill their own food. Their claws are far too weak and therefore rely on eating deceased herbivores. Buzzards have a digestive tract that kills all virus and bacterial organisms. They essentially, "clean", that roadside grub by devouring it and ridding the said roadside of germs. 




They have strong family ties that allow them to occupy the same roost for over one hundred years. Aviary specialists report that they are playful birds that can form strong bonds with their caregivers. 



Southern folklore states that if you see the shadow of a buzzard on the ground without seeing the bird, you will soon have company. 

They like to give me the up close view, so I don't think I will have any problem with this one. 

43 comments:

  1. They're not pretty but they actually are important in the decomposition process of dead critters.

    I had no idea about their strong family ties! Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Michelle, very interesting, and the pictures are wonderful,love them on the old barn roof. Blessings Francine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Probably not my favourite birds especially after having seen so many eagles in the PNW but your shots are wonderful nevertheless. And the information is interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I didn't know those facts. I think I will look at them a bit differently know.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Neat pictures. They are eerie birds.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You did get some great shots. Not sure I could ever get past the "death" thing to enjoy watching these birds, though. I definitely didn't know that they could not kill their own food.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very interesting post, I, like Can do mom, had no idea of their strong family ties. - We lived in the middle of 300 acres of cow pasture land and when you'd see the vultures circling you would know that a calve was born, they would happily clean up any afterbirth remains. xo

    ReplyDelete
  8. I marvel at their gliding ability and when they are present, I know there is a fresh (or not so fresh) kill nearby.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I see a lot of them around here, as well, and I will look at them differently from now on. I think it's awesome that they clean the germs off the dead animals. Your photos are stunning as always.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In my neck of the woods we refer to them as Turkey Vultures. Hairless heads! They serve a purpose as you indicated. I like seeing them soaring.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very nice post on turkey vultures. Some countries have inadvertently killed off their vultures and now have a problem with rotting carcasses all over their countryside -- the natural way of the vulture cleaning up dead animals has disappeared. I believe India is one country that is trying to re-introduce vultures. Your post today helps folks understand the importance of their role in our ecological chain.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very good information but boy they are sure some ugly birds though. Around my neck of the woods we call them turkey vultures.

    ReplyDelete
  13. the folklore is cool - hadn't heard that before. i like these guys - be careful of them hitting the vehicle, though. knew someone who dented up their whole front bumper by hitting one!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for this information. Some of this I never knew. Very interesting. Did you see the post on my blog of the one that hit my nephew's windshield? Not fun! And love the music..."Sailing Away"...apropos Michelle!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dont seem to be present here in India. Fantastic clicks, loved the last one especially.
    Have a nice week Michelle:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's quite a long roost! Buzzards are Southern indeed but I love seeing your pictures and reading your story of them.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's quite a long roost! Buzzards are Southern indeed but I love seeing your pictures and reading your story of them.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That's quite a long roost! Buzzards are Southern indeed but I love seeing your pictures and reading your story of them.

    ReplyDelete
  19. interesting facts about them....when we lived in georgia, before moving here to va, there was a large parcel of land that was all wooded that sat up to our property. someone bought it and tore down all the woods to build a subdivision (yeah, not) andways, all the vultures lost their trees and came into our yard to roost...it was a bit scary to go out into the backyard and see about 30 vultures just hanging around lol

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lovely birds and interesting facts. Thanks for sharing.
    Shaun Valleys ShutterBug

    ReplyDelete
  21. Such interesting birds!
    We live out here in the desert and when we are out there in the middle of the desert and the buzzards start circling us it is the strangest feeling...

    ReplyDelete
  22. There were several circling my house the other day. I was worried a coon got another chicken, but it was just something in the field behind my house. I don't care for those icky things.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Amazing story for such an ugly bird. Have HATED them since reading The Red Pony in 8th Grade. But, I guess, someone has to love them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Interesting buzzard news! We see them all the time too...
    Great pictures..

    ReplyDelete
  25. We have a lot of those here in the Columbia River Gorge.. I always think it's an eagle or an osprey, then I realize it's a turkey vulture. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I never see buzzards here so i found your post very interesting, Michelle. It seems there is a purpose for all life on earth!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Y'all should come up to the Chez sometime and watch them behind the house before the blasting begins next door...or you can see the same flock of buzzards from down at Legion Park. Yes, it was always lovely hearing my classmates refer to our house as "The Buzzard Hole"...

    ReplyDelete
  28. Isn't it wonderful how we all have a beautiful purpose in life. Thank you for helping me to understand these birds better.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for the information about these great birds. I really enjoy seeing them when they come through the pass here by the thousands every October. Ravens clean up our canyon during the rest of the year.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow! I always thought they were bad luck... Interesting facts! I'll start watching for them!

    ReplyDelete
  31. We have a "family" of them that stay in some trees near my mom's house. Some days, they stretch their wings way out and just sun themselves that way. It's kind of scary!

    ReplyDelete
  32. In the summer when I'm layin' on my mat in the pool they'll often begin to circle me. Ya can find me yellin'...hey I'm still alive down here. Heeehehehe!

    God bless ya sweetie and have a beautiful day!!! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Turkey buzzards are such ugly birds (laugh). if I told you that I had a friend many years ago, that rescued a injured turkey buzzard, and put it in her car, would you believe me? She brought it to work too. What a experience!
    Turkey buzzards do what nature intended them to do take care of the deceased. They are amazingly efficient at their jobs, and know how to have a good time.

    Velva

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love to see them circling high up in the air...I figured the spotted something good and dead when they were doing that!

    ReplyDelete
  35. This was very interesting and the photos are great! We have 'turkey vultures' here near Mt. Rainier, and I sometimes see them circling. Not too long ago I counted 17! But that was the most I ever saw, usually it is just two or three. I love your blog, and am now a 'follower'. xx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi, Michelle. I saw many vultures and other "clean up" animals during my recent trip to South Africa. They gave me a new appreciation for the wonderful design of nature, even for the garbage men like your buzzards.

    Thanks for visiting while I was away. Even though I had a wonderful trip, in a way it is good to get back to the routine of looking at favorite blogs like yours.

    ReplyDelete
  37. INTERESTING! I didn't know any of this about buzzards, maybe I kind of like them now! We have crows that want to raid our bird feeder and eat up all the seed. We just tolerate all the animals here on Granny Mountain, they were here first! Great pictures girl!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Yes, I can confirm they love to ride the thermal waves. When I lived in Tampa, there was quite a problem with vultures circling over the high rises scaring people and defecating on the windows. (lovely images) But, they're an integral part of the ecosystem. I wouldn't want to clean up the roadkill, would you?!

    ReplyDelete
  39. We have a lot of folklores here too ...but I've never heard that one. That's cool

    ReplyDelete
  40. Beautiful post and blog!
    If you want we can follow each other, I would be very glad to have you as my new friend c:

    ReplyDelete
  41. I saw these once or twice, but didn't like them much... I was obviously ignorant and wrong!

    ReplyDelete