“WARTS & ALL”: THE TURKEY VULTURE IN ALL HIS GLORY


“WARTS & ALL”: THE TURKEY VULTURE IN ALL HIS GLORY

This wonderful picture taken by Irish photographer Craig Nash appears on page 215 of “The Birds of Abaco”. It was awarded a full page to itself, and a few people have asked about this authorial / editorial decision. The simple answer is that the book is full of lovely pictures of gorgeous birds. Too much perfection can become tedious, and an occasional corrective is called for. The Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura is often described in detail, but only a really good close-up will reveal a bird that only its mother could love unconditionally. 

The text for the book is as follows: “Graceful in flight as they wheel overhead singly or in large groups catching the thermals, these large raptors are rather less attractive at close quarters. The head and neck are completely hairless. They lack a syrinx (the avian equivalent of a larynx) and can only grunt and hiss.These vultures are carrion feeders, with a sense of smell so keen that they can detect rotting flesh from afar.They usefully help to clear up road-kill on the Abaco Highway. Their defence mechanism – and what a good one – is to vomit foul-smelling semi-digested putrified meat onto a perceived threat”. 

Double-click on the image and you will be able to count the hairs on his chin. Go on. Nothing to lose. You can find out plenty more about these fine birds and their somewhat revolting habits including 10 Essential Facts, what they sound like, the statistical percentage photographed from below, and a free yet horrible Metallica song at ‘CARRION SCAVENGING’: TURKEY VULTURES ON ABACO

Turkey Vulture, Abaco - Craig Nash 1

15 thoughts on ““WARTS & ALL”: THE TURKEY VULTURE IN ALL HIS GLORY

    • I agree – their personal hygiene and unusual habits leave something to be desired in polite society. Watch them in flight on thermals, though, and they are wonderfully balletic! And you can’t see those warty bits at all… RH

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      • you know I love this kind of discussion because I wonder how we form our tastes for nice and not nice … all too arbitrary usually, except for the inbuilt horror some people have for deadly things like snakes or spiders, I am sure that is genetic … I am perfectly willing to admire your balletic bird on the thermals, or maybe even up close 🙂

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    • Well thank you, Jet! We did debate the pros and cons of inclusion, but quite honestly it’s a brilliant photo, and not every bird has the misfortune to be… um… quite so plain at close quarters! So I went for broke with a full-page close-up! RH

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