A Face Only a Mother Could Love

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Video by Kames Kusz

Photographer James Kusz caught this bird’s laborious takeoff in slow motion. But once airborne the Turkey Vulture can stay aloft with probably less effort than any other bird of its size. It’s a master at finding and seizing thermal updrafts, and riding air upwellings at the edge of cliffs. It rarely has to beat its wings. It makes its living by feeding on animals that have recently expired. The olfactory bulb in its brain is exceptionally large, and it has a legendary ability to smell carrion, even if covered by leaf litter under a forest canopy, miles away. By disposing of carrion, this bird performs an important public health service.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Screenshot from video by Kames Kusz

More about them: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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