Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Turkey vulture sighting

On the way down the Sunshine Coast, we passed this turkey vulture ripping at something on the yellow line. By the time I'd braked, it was far overhead.

I hadn't seen one before, at least, close enough to identify. But even at this distance, the distinguishing features are evident: the red, bald head, the two-toned underside of the wings; black wing linings and dark grey flight feathers. I noticed the way they hold the first four wing feathers (primaries) separated from the rest and each other. Later, I compared them with eagles' wings in flight: the eagles' primaries are separated, but blend into the others at the inner end.

There were two; one was waiting in the trees. After we had been stopped for a while, one of them returned to the road. We aimed the cameras, and a car came around the bend. Goodbye, vultures!

We would have waited more, but the pair circled a couple of times, then headed east, over the cliffs and out of sight.


  1. There are half a dozen of these that summer close to our place...many more a bit further away.

    They typically perform a hunting ballet for us once or twice a day and often coming even with and no more than 20 yards away from our back deck.

    I'll try to get some pictures in the next few weeks.

  2. What part of the continent are you in, Steve?

  3. They look awesome in flight, great capture!


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