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Vultures: The environment would be a stinky mess without these scavengers

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 6:56 am in Hawks, Raptors, Turkey vultures.

Sharp-shinned hawk on car top. Photo by Madeleine Gallagher, Walnut Creek, CA
sharpie gallagher

Dear Gary:
I’m just learning how to download photos onto our computer and have some recent photos taken in our neighborhood in Walnut Creek.

The little hawk sat on my car for at least an hour. We think it’s a sharp-shinned hawk, based on the pictures in Sibley’s bird book. It is the second or third time a hawk (maybe this one) has perched there.

Turkey vulture eating fox squirrel. Photo by Madeleine Gallagher, Walnut Creek, CA
vulture gallagher

The last photo is pure Mother Nature at work. This was taken near Foothill Middle School in Walnut Creek. The turkey vulture was perusing the area as I drove by. When I came back, he/she was dining on the sidewalk. I couldn’t tell if the vulture found the dead fox squirrel there, or brought it over from the street.
Madeleine Gallagher, Walnut Creek

Dear Madeleine:
Fall is the time of year when sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks start to migrate into and through the San Francisco Bay Area. Both are accipiters and look a lot alike, although the Cooper’s hawks are bigger. Both are primarily bird hunters and stalk songbirds around backyard bird feeders.

You can always tell when one of these hawks is around. There are suddenly no songbirds in sight as they dive into bushes, under decks, and into the thickest parts of trees to hide until the hawks move on.

Don’t know what we’d do without turkey vultures. Nature’s garbagemen … scavengers. There would be a LOT more dead animals lying around on the roads if we didn’t have turkey vultures. Thanks for sharing your pictures so we can give people a chance to get a close-up look at these beautiful creatures. /Gary

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One Response to “Vultures: The environment would be a stinky mess without these scavengers”

  1. samantha burbont Says:

    Adorable and disgusting at the same time!!

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