During my visit to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I had the opportunity to capture a photograph of a Turkey Vulture. It reminded me of the way vultures are often portrayed in cartoons, typically depicted as stooped over and looking dangerous. I had never seen a vulture hunched this far over before, but the truth is that the bird was simply scratching its chest area, which is why it appeared in that unusual posture. I was thrilled to have the chance to photograph it.
Turkey vultures are one of the most commonly seen vultures in North America. They are often observed soaring high in the sky, with their broad wingspan and teetering flight pattern. These scavengers play an important role in the ecosystem by consuming carrion, which helps to reduce the spread of disease and other potential health hazards.
These birds have a unique appearance with their bare, red heads and dark brown feathers. Their keen sense of smell allows them to detect the scent of carrion from great distances, and they are often seen circling over areas where dead animals are present. Despite their unappealing diet, turkey vultures are fascinating creatures that are an essential part of the natural world.
Turkey Vulture Facts:
- Turkey Vultures are often seen perching on utility poles or tall trees, where they can rest and keep an eye out for potential food sources.
- Unlike most birds, Turkey Vultures have a weak grip and can’t carry their prey away like eagles or hawks. Instead, they feed on the ground or in trees and use their strong beaks to tear apart their meals.
- Turkey Vultures have excellent eyesight and can spot carrion from a mile away while perching high up in a tree.
- These birds often defecate on their own legs and feet, which helps to cool them down in hot weather.
- Turkey Vultures are able to soar for hours without flapping their wings, thanks to their broad wingspan and unique flight style known as “teetering.” This helps them conserve energy while searching for food.
- Camera: Canon EOS R7
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
I was photographing this Turkey Vulture from inside my pickup. I had a beanbag draped over the open window to support my camera and lens.
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: March 29, 2023 (08:37 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/1600
- ISO: 800 (Auto)
- Exposure Compensation: +1/3
- Focal Length: 500 mm