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Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture is a common bird in North and South America. It feeds on dead animals on the ground and adopts to its environment pretty well as it just scavenges for food and eats mostly dead carrion. Turkey Vultures have a very keen sense of sight and smell, which are the main tools that help them find food since they need to be able to sense when a dead animal is just beginning to decay. People tend to see these birds in a negative way because of their less than glorious existence feeding on dead animals, but these buzzards are very important for the environment. By eating the flesh and meat of the dead and decaying animals, they prevent the spread of disease that would otherwise occur when bacteria gets a hold of decaying animals. Turkey vultures actually help prevent disease. They are nature's janitors and cleaners.

Turkey Vulture Distinguishing Features

These birds tend to have plump round bodies, resembling those of turkeys. Their feathers are most commonly dark brown and black and their beak is red, short and hooked. Theses birds are pretty large in size, and are relatively slow flyers. These birds have a feather-less neck. This bird does not have an organ called a syrinx, which helps other birds make loud vocal noises. The only sounds the buzzards can make are grunts and hisses.


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Turkey Buzzards During Birdwatching

Since these birds live in many California parks and preserves where many bird-watching groups and ornithologists gather to watch the hundreds of birds that make California parks and preserves their home, or a visiting place during annual migration, they can be spotted in many popular preserves such as Point Reyes. They can sometimes fly and circle around people who are hiking in the area, which can be a little bit alarming since the birds are large and have a mean-looking appearance. But if unprovoked, these birds won't attack people.

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