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Old 02-08-2010, 11:37 AM   #1
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Default Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures are not pretty animals, but they can be quite impressive just by virtue of their size. Last June I was on a friends farm in north central Massachusetts and happened to see these guys roosting on an old dead tree just over the hill. There were five of them, although you can only see four in the pics. It had been a cold, rainy morning but the sun was just starting to come out and burn off the fog and chill. These guys spread their wings out to take full advantage of the warmth. It was quite a sight. I would take some pics and then slowly move a little closer before taking more. I couldn't get close enough to take any really high quality photos with my mediocre camera, but these few will give you some idea of what it looked like.
Another friend of ours was there at the time and saw them as well. As a true city boy, he was dumbstruck. He said "It's like watching the National Geographic channel in 3D at the Imax theater!"
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Turkey Vultures-vultures-021.jpg   Turkey Vultures-vultures-030.jpg   Turkey Vultures-vultures-036.jpg  
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:41 AM   #2
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They are very impressive when they are warming up! Thanks for the pics!
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:32 PM   #3
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Oh . I love vultures . As you say not pretty by most percieved standards . But I believe in a different beauty of functionality . They are as I see it "vacuum cleaners" taking what other messes that others leave behind . A needed function . marvelous animals , thier flight is grace to watch often sometimes barely moving a wing . Catching currents in the air ,drifting along .
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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Although they used to give me the creeps, since moving to the country I have come to respect them and value their role in the cycle. I am always impressed by their size, as you say, Bulucanagria. So much so, that I am very glad that they only eat carrion, in fact (can you imagine trying to keep one away from a flock of chickens? Or goats, even--it would be an evenly matched hand-to-wing combat). Thank goodness they are gentle creatures!
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:17 PM   #5
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dragonfly01 About the Wambli Sapa (black eagles)

In 1978-79 & again in 1981-82 we had so much snow that my blacksmith shop was buried to a tad above the eaves - & it had 10-ft-high sides. Needless to say, the deer died in droves because they couldn't get out of their original yards to make new ones, so come spring, none of us farmers / ranchers could get into our fields early one due to the stench of rotting deer carcasses. For the wambli sapa, it was 'hog heaven', though. They got so fat they couldn't take off to fly. They had to waddle to a big rock & launch into the thermals. They'd drop like rocks & then, after a minute or 2, they'd come bobbing back up & go off soaring. Wish I had the video tape of it handy..

I had a bunch of hides to brain tan & was getting brains from cow skulls from a local slaughter house & I wanted shed feathers from the wambli sapa, so I set the cow skulls in a huge circle (over time) around an ancient old burr oak in the north pasture; the hope being that the wambli sapa would pick over the skulls & leave some feathers in exchange.

Ignorance being what it is, a local English teacher & her spouse bought some land in the neighborhood & saw this circle of skulls. They were within 150 feet of the road.. They came to see me one night & my man & I knew instantly it was about The Skull Circle, but somehow we kept straight faces.

She said (n-n-nervously), "I know you know a good deal about alternative religions.. Could you maybe tell me the purpose of the skulls in a circle in your north pasture?"

I said, "yes." Indn humor being what it is, I then waited.

She finally cleared her throat, swallowed & said, "What is it?" It was so0o hard to keep a straight face.. I replied, "a bird feeder. I want shed feathers from the vultures. So I put the skulls out so they'll pick them over & leave shed flight feathers for me."

She let out a huge breath & said, "Oh! Is that all! I thought maybe it had to so with some kind of satanic ritual. Oh-god!-what-have-I-said?!?!" "Red" doesn't precisely describe her color..

At which point I & my man nearly collapsed with laughter, of course. Indns are no stoics about such things. Her man said very quietly, I told you so, Katherine..." He was so red, poor man.. Still makes me chuckle.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahinh Winh View Post
In 1978-79 & again in 1981-82 we had so much snow that my blacksmith shop was buried to a tad above the eaves - & it had 10-ft-high sides.
I chuckled at your story but my eyes fixated on that it seems that you are a blacksmith . What seems like another lifetime ago , years ago I was a practicing wheel/wagon/carriage wright . Have you ever shrunk steel tires on wagon wheels ?
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:28 PM   #7
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That is hilarious! Do you still brain tan? That, too, is almost a lost art. Cool how it is that each animal has just enough brains to tan its own hide!
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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Great story! I'm also fascinated by brain tanning. My friend has a sheep farm and I keep meaning to try it. He has all the necessaries, hides, brains and enough land that the neighbors won't complain about the smell. I'd first like to watch or help someone do it. You can only learn so much from a book. I guess someday I'll just have to haul off and try it and screw it up a few times. In everything I've read about it, though, I've never heard of feathers being involved. May I ask what purpose they serve in the process.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:37 PM   #9
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Gudgreef! You guys are a freakin' riot!

You all know I love vultures and have posted enuf pix of them! We just got back from Okaloacoochee Slough again, but again I didn't see a Caracara! Well, maybe I did see one at a distance, but then I'd be guessing! We see tons of Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures and Caracaras are dominant over them when present. Do I have to take some bait?

Turkey Vultures-p1020591.jpg

Turkey Vultures-p1020551ed.jpg

Turkey Vultures-p1020574.jpg

Turkey Vultures-p1020624ed.jpg

Wow! These four pix uploaded as quickly and effortlessly as turkey vultures lift off the ground - amazing!
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #10
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Oh, nice pics!
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