By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 5:23 am in Turkey vultures.
I’ve had 4 interesting encounters with these wonderful and awesome birds (turkey vultures).
First at the intersection of Leland & Railroad in Pittsburg, CA. On the NE corner is a mortuary and on the NW corner there is a row of large, mature eucalyptus trees. On one trip as I sat at the stop lights there were about 10 of them sitting on the peak of the roof of the mortuary and another 20 or so in the eucalyptus trees and this was in the late morning.
Second time was on the roof of Hillcrest Congregational Church on Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill, CA. One sat on the peak of the roof, one set on the top of the cross and one each sat on each arm of the cross.
The third time was on a street in Brentwood, just east the HWY 4 bypass and south of Lone Tree Way between a new housing development and a field. About 6 were cleaning up a skunk.
And finally, see the above photo of a single vulture cleaning up a ground squirrel just east of San Marco & W. Leland in Pittsburg, CA, in a new neighborhood of completed houses. He was in the middle of the street and was unhappy that I drove through. He just moved over to let me pass. As I came back I had my camera out, stopped and took this picture. He glared at me, picked up his trophy and moved into an empty field and continued to eat.
I have so much fun just observing my surroundings.
Judy Edlund, Concord, California
Don’t you think it’s kind of poetic that those vultures were perching on the roof of that mortuary in Pittsburg? That’s funny!
Turkey vultures are Mother Nature’s garbage collectors. Without vultures, the local environment would be a smelly place full of dead things.
They spend the day patrolling the skies on outstretched wings, looking for dead things to eat. And their nights perched in tall trees, or on mortuary rooftops, waiting for the next day to come. In the early mornings, just as the sun rises, vultures are often observed standing with their wings stretched open and exposed to the suns rays. This allows the ultra violet light to kill any bacteria they may have picked up on their feathers while eating carrion. They also defecate on their legs and feet, giving them a whitewashed look. Vulture feces is acidic, which helps to kill off any bacteria on their legs and feet.
Mother Nature takes care of her own. /Gary