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Today as I type this it is the Autumn Solstice. How, honestly, can that be. It has been a different year, of course, but the grass and flowers have flourished for sure.
I’m sure you gardeners have had a lot of produce as well. We are winding down with all the birds. One in particular, that I have noticed so much this summer and spring is the Turkey Vulture, or Buzzard. They are numerous, and you can always seem they floating in the area looking for carrion.
The Buzzard is a scavenger. It finds its food using its keen eye and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decaying dead animals. It moves through the thermals in the air, flapping its wings once in a while.
They roost in large groups. Most of the time they roost in dead tree tops.It makes no noise only maybe a hiss or grunt. They nest in caves, hollow trees or thickets. They usually raise two chicks, which they feed by regurgitation. They are a protected species.
The turkey vulture gets its common name from the resemblance of the adults bald red head and its dark plumage to that of a male turkey. The word buzzard is widely used here in the U.S. for the term of the bird. There are several species of the Turkey Vulture. They migrate south in the winter.
You should see south Texas in the winter. Sometimes, you will notice them standing with their wings outstretched. They may be drying their wings, warming their body or baking off bacteria.
The buzzard often defecates on its own legs, using the evaporation of the water in feces and urine to cool itself. Sometimes, the young buzzards fall prey to great horned owls, red-tails, and bald eagles. They can also rid its crop of a heavy, undirected meal to take flight to flee from a potential predator. They can live up to 16 years or longer. They are very awkward on the ground with ungainly, hoping walk.
It often requires a great deal of effort to take flight. For instance, when you are traveling down the road, it seems sometimes they are going to fly away from the road kill. They have often caused vehicle damage due to non-flight. Their nests are very sparse and usually hatch two babes. Their eggs are cream colored, with brown or lavender spots. Both parents incubate, and the young hatch in 30 to 40 days. They are quite the creature. There are many of them this year, and aren’t very pretty to look at, or smell.
Enjoy these last nice days of sunshine and get outside. Until next time, good birdwatching.