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Not Just Another Pretty Face!

We received a Turkey Vulture not too long ago. It is a mystery as to what his issue was.

He would not fly and was just hanging around. After few days, his legs were looking redder than normal and he started limping on one, favoring his left leg. Lori spoke with Dr. Ramsay about this and her suggestion was to catch him and see if there was any circulation in the leg.

“He taught us a lot about friendship and all the things you can accomplish as a team.”

So in Lori goes to chase after him with a big net and a towel in hand to see what is up. To catch a Turkey Vulture is always interesting…why? When you get 4 feet of distance from them they stink; that is they have quite a body odor and it is not what one could honestly call pleasant. It gets better, they have a defense mechanism for when a predator gets too close, they vomit. Now vomit is usually unpleasant regardless of who is dishing it out, but Turkey Vulture vomit tops the charts for downright nasty. OH MY!!! If you have a weak stomach, this is not the job for you! Once you get past the vomit and get the large cloth net over him/her and pick them up the worst of it is over. Turkey Vultures are smart and like Ravens do, they are feeling around under that towel hoping to find your hand on the outside, so they can bite it. This Turkey Vultures legs were warm with circulation but the left foot is limp in Lori's hand. They would be visiting the vet that week no doubt.

Now why would someone go to all the trouble to save a stinky, puking creature???

First of all, a couple of Turkey Vulture facts are in order to help answer that question. These characters can fly on a thermal for hours without needing to flap their wings. They poop on their legs and feet. What? Yes, they poop down their legs to help clean them from the dead stuff that they have been standing in while dining. Their faces are bald for this same reason; to make their job of dumpster diving into natures dead carcasses less disease causing, than if they had a bunch of feathers to get all that muck stuck in. They have a salt gland on their face so that they can sneeze a salty water substance onto their face to also help quell any infection that could come about due to their food sources. 


They can eat rotten animals and hold this food in their crop for a couple of days. Turkey Vultures are amazing creatures. They are one interesting creature that has a special job to do and is designed to do it well. If all these things are not enough reason to save these odd fellows, to us this is; they are living breathing creatures that struggle, feel pain, have bad days, are afraid, raise young, and are just trying to make it like the rest of us. Yes, we are more alike than different. When Lori picked this bird up and saw the fear he/she had and the vulnerability with an injury, She saw herself more than she saw a chasm of difference between them.

“He taught us a lot about friendship and all the things you can accomplish as a team.”

So next time you are stuck in traffic and see a V shaped bird soaring and not flapping, it’s pretty likely a Turkey Vulture. Wish him/her a good day as you realize we are all just trying to make a living. And thank you for supporting these birds that come our way.

It will take $5 a day to feed this bird during it's stay. Please consider donating to help get this bird back to the wild.

 

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