Did you recognize the silhouette in last week’s puzzler? It is probably a bird you’ve seen before as it is common throughout the United States.
It is the silhouette of a Turkey Vulture. This bird plays an important role in ecosystems. Do you know what it is? It is a super recycler! Turkey vultures feed on dead animals.
Do you know how you can tell a soaring hawk from a soaring turkey vulture? First off, most turkey vultures are much bigger than most hawks. With a wing span of 6 feet, they are hard to miss. However, when you’re standing on the ground, looking up, size is not always that easy to tell. So besides being larger, turkey vultures fly in what’s called a dihedral, which is a shallow V and they have distinctive long “fingers” (primary feathers) at the ends of their wings. Hawks on the other hand fly flat, with their wings in line with their heads.
One of my subscribers thought the silhouette in last week’s puzzler was a bald eagle. This is not a bad guess. Check out the silhouette below, taken of a bald eagle on my recent trip to Alaska. Not the tail shape is different as is the head. But the two do look similar. Like a hawk, eagles, when soaring, fly flat, rather than in the shallow V of the vultures.
Turkey vultures are interesting animals for sure. Do you know much about them? Like how they find their food, where they nest, how they stay cool or how long they live? Stop back next week as they will be the Creature Feature!