Monday, 1 July 2013

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Lennon Road, Hamilton, ON
1 July 2013

    While birding along Lennon Road this afternoon I spotted a Turkey Vulture perched high atop a snag.  There was a distinct odour of decaying flesh in the air, and I assume this was at least in part responsible for the presence of this bird. After several minutes the bird descended to the road and walked along slowly, flying up into adjacent trees only when a vehicle threatened to hit it. Each time, when danger had passed, it promptly returned to the road and continued to walk at a slow pace. I could not detect any reason for this behaviour and I would have thought, given the Turkey Vulture's well known acute sense of smell, it would have located a decomposing carcass without delay. 
    Finally, it flew off into a tree and perched crosswise almost in the manner of a nighthawk. Even though I waited for about another half hour the bird never did return to the road, and when I left it was still "sitting" in the tree.

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