Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

Patience My Ass, I’m gonna kill something!

   We have Turkey Vultures in this area. They are pretty amazing animals….. they can eat dead animals felled by disease, and their systems can clean the disease out…. they are called the ‘trashmen of the wilderness’… they are a necessary component to our local eco-system.

   They are also terribly pest-ridden creatures…. infested with little crawlies… and stinking really bad… really, really, really bad.

  But I like them a lot…. they taste a bit like a cross between a Peregrine Falcon and a Spotted Owl! (Joke).

   They are an amazing little creature to watch… they will sit high on a treetop or cliff waiting for the sun to cause the thermal updrafts that they ride so effortlessly…. a simple jump into the breeze… a short downhill glide to build air-current causing lift (the curves of the wings causes a vacuum that actually lifts the animal up), and the animal can turn into the updrafts… letting the upwelling column of air lift the bird up gradually… they must spin in circles inside this column of air….. each circle will bring them a bit higher than they were before…. all of this is done with just small ‘tweaks’ to the feathers… the birds can control some of the flight feathers giving small adjustments to balance and steering.

   Amazing creatures really….

   Incidentally… they have to take several running steps to build momentum for lift if starting off on the level ground. A Turkey vulture in a five foot pen cannot fly out due to this take-off restriction. I’d say  a Turkey Vulture takes thirty feet horizontal-run to get six feet off the ground.

Turkey Vulture on a tree

Turkey Vulture on a tree

    I saw this Vulture in a  tree over the creek…..

Turkey Vultures on a tree

Turkey Vultures on a tree

   Moments later a cousin (they nest in family groups) came to mess with him…..
They squawked for a few moments, then left off together to do some Vulture stuff I’d not understand.

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