|Copyright: Brett West (bwest) (28)|
|Date Taken: 2006-08-18|
|Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds|
|Details: Tripod: Yes|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2006-08-20 9:23|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This photo was taken from the North Lookout of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA.|
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
The typical adult bird is an average 76 cm (2.5 ft) long with a 185 cm (6.0 ft) wingspan, and weighing 1.4 kg. They are mostly brownish-black, but the flight feathers are gray, creating a contrasting pattern. The head is small in proportion to the body and has no feathers on it; the adults' heads are red and the immatures' are black.
While soaring, they hold their wings in a V-shape and often tip "drunkenly" from side to side, sometimes causing the gray flight feathers to look silvery as they catch the light. They flap their wings very infrequently, and often take advantage of rising thermals to keep them soaring. The flight style, small-headed and narrow-winged silhouette, and underwing pattern make this bird easy to identify at great distances.
These birds soar over open areas, watching for dead animals or other scavengers at work. Unlike most other birds, they also rely on smell to help locate their food. They also eat some vegetation.
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