Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday

Okay, not everyone's cup of tea but here we were driving down one of the back roads (we are heading towards Key West) and we came across this handsome fellow standing on a fence post and stretching its wings.  

When vultures stretch their wings out they use the sun to repair damaged feathers, raise body temperature and dry flight feathers after wet weather.  It rained heavily today but for a little while the sun came out.   We found him and about 30 or so of his family members in the field just beyond him doing the same thing.  It was a sight to behold as they all looked like they were about to perform Swan Lake.  We had driven by this spectacle and I think my mouth dropped open and I swiveled my neck around to make sure I had seen what I had just seen.  As it was a quiet road and there were no other cars in sight, I asked Gregg first if he had seen that, he had and before I could ask he reversed until we arrived opposite the Black Vulture Ballet.  This one eyed us warily but it did not stop him from enjoying the sunshine.

When morning temperatures warm up and thermals begin to form, turkey vultures begin to leave their roost individually.  Most black vultures wait about an hour longer than the turkey vulture before leaving their roost.  The late departure of black vultures is due to having a heavier wing load and waiting for stronger thermals to stay aloft.  When the thermals are right, they will begin to leave their roost in groups. 

As I said in the beginning of my post these extraordinary birds are not everyone's cup of tea, but are another species of bird that I have always been fascinated with.  When you put it in the context that they are nature's clean-up crew and that they play an important role in our world, maybe you will think a little differently of them.  They help to clean up our environment and could prevent the spread of certain diseases.  So, in my opinion I think they have been much maligned and deserve to be thought of more fondly.  Okay, maybe you think I am stretching that one a little too far, at least with less distaste, how's that?

You can find out more about them here.

I will be linking up with Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.  Thank you for hosting Stewart, I am always happy to have a bird photo to share with this lovely meme.