Halloween Animals We Love To Fear 3
Vultures have a frightening reputation and an association with death because of their eerie bald heads and their habit of eating anything already dead. Preferably very dead. Despite their grotesque appearance, the turkey vulture does a job that few other animals are willing to do and should be respected for it. As a consummate scavenger, they are nature’s garbage collectors.
This large bird stands two and half feet tall, weighs up to four pounds, and has a wing span of seventy inches. They’re bigger than most birds of prey, except eagles. Vultures typically fly with its wings in a V shape. It is related to storks and flamingos. They have amazing eyesight, they can pick out dinner more than three miles away.
Turkey vultures are a little short on social graces; if a turkey vulture becomes frightened or over indulges at dinner it is known to have projectile vomit. They also urinate on their own legs to keep cool, and it produces several pellets, made up of indigestible parts, a day – so watch out!
All that being said, they do bath regularly and preen for up to three hours a day. They are social birds and have been seen playing follow the leader, tag, and speed soaring in high winds. These birds are commonly seen soaring above the park in the summer. There are three turkey vulture roost trees at The Cove Palisades. Two are in the Cottonwood trees in the Upper Deschutes Day-use Area and one is in the Deschutes Campground. Recently, while leading a night hike, we found three very large birds in a Cottonwood tree up in the Crooked River Wetlands Area.
Next week we will look into the dark eyes of a bird that can fly upside down…