Flora & Fauna

Turkey Vultures: A Ballet in the Sky

Vultures may not be the loveliest birds to look at, but in flight, they have a beauty all of their own.
Those soaring beings that glide and climb effortlessly in the skies over Florida are truly snowbirds. Many come to visit with us during the winter, to escape from the cold , and feed upon carrion.  They are true scavengers that cleanup after an animal dies.....natures sanitation engineers. They fill an ecological niche on our planet. Their stomach acids are so strong that viruses and bacteria that might infect another animal are readily destroyed. 
The feeding habits are such that they will stretch their necks and enter the chest and abdominal cavity of a dead animal to feed on the innards. Both turkey and black vultures are our local visitors. The turkey vulture can be recognized by the red featherless head and neck. No need to preen these areas because of its feeding habits. Black vultures are a smokey black color.
Turkey vultures have a very keen sense of smell and can detect a dead or dying animal from 5 miles away.  Black vultures, on the other hand, have exceptional visual abilities, and are more aggressive, and will follow the turkey vulture to its next meal and possibly steal it from him.


   Turkey Vulture Warming in the Sun                                   Turkey Vulture in Flight                                                 Vultures on Deerfield Island Park

Black Vulture