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Turkey Vulture

26912 views Earl Hartlen September 22, 2020 Norfolk County, ON Date shot: September 19, 2020

With a face only a mother could love and its bald red head and dark feathers, the Turkey Vulture was given its common name due to its resemblance to the Wild Turkey. It's head is bald so that bits of carrion (dead meat) do not adhere to the skin as they would to feathers. Did you know that Turkey vultures are the only scavenger birds that can't kill their prey. A close inspection of their feet reminds one of a chicken instead of a hawk or an eagle. Their feet are useless for ripping into prey, but the vultures have powerful beaks that can tear through even the toughest cow hide. They feed by thrusting their heads into the body cavities of rotting animals. They have an extraordinary sense of smell and have been known to smell carrion from over a mile away, which is very unique in the bird world. The turkey vulture has the largest olfactory (smelling) system of all birds. With an estimated global occurrence of 28,000,000 km the turkey vulture is the most abundant vulture in the Americas

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