Tribute to the Turkey

“A face only a mother could love.”

Most like their turkey with a side of dumplings, cranberry sauce, and maybe some twice baked potatoes.  Here at the Cove, the “turkey” is plentiful, but we’d be lying if we said we had any desire to stuff our turkey and dress it on the table.  You see, our type of turkey, it likes to eat dead animals and then shamelessly throw them up.  It loves to seep its talons and bald head into stinky, slimy flesh, and then roast in the hot sun.  While some may consider this turkey as an “Organic” or “Free-Range” or “Locally Grown” option, we are going to stick to eatin’ the turkey that grandma fixes and HIGHLY suggest you do the same!

This turkey that we’re talking about, is called the “Turkey Vulture” and is yes, in fact a vulture (not a turkey!).  Though these guys are creepy and disgusting, they hold a special place in our hearts here at the Cove.  Not to mention they are super vital to our functioning high desert ecosystem, their niche is to eat and decompose dead animals.  Without them, we would see many more dead animals hanging around for a longer duration of time, and smelling rather foul!

To wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, the Interp Team has provided you with the following collection of Turkey Vulture photos and fun, disgusting facts just to build up that appetite before the big feast!   Happy Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for this year?!

The Turkey Vultures of the Cove like to nest in 2 specific trees in our park. One tree is located right smack dab in the middle of Deschutes Campground, the other off the road heading towards the Deschutes River bridge. Every night at around 8pm in the summer, the 20 something vultures will circle down and land in these trees and call it a day.

The vultures will roost all night, and in the morning they will spread their wings wide and sit for awhile, basking in the sun. They partake in this funny looking action so that the sun may heat up and kill the bacteria on their wings from their recent meal.

Here is an example of that silly looking, ninja stance they do to kill bacteria.
Did you know that a turkey vulture has a bald head so it can put it’s head into dead flesh with ease? This adaptation also helps the bird to keep bacteria from sticking near it’s eyes and beak.
This is a “turkey” that literally stuffs itself! When a turkey vulture finds a dead animal to eat (this dead animal is also known as “Carrion”) it will eat as much as it can, because it just doesn’t know when it might find another dead animal. Turkey vultures have the incredible talent to vomit on command, in case a predator is close, to lighten their load so they can fly away!

Turkey Vulture Flying With Wing Tips Up.

About coveranger

"One's happiness depends less on what he knows than on what he feels." - Liberty Hyde Bailey

Posted on November 21, 2012, in Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. bonesofmountain

    this is a great,well written piece about my power animal. keep up the good work

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