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Archive for March 6, 2012

Turkey Vultures Return

Right on time, the second week of March, Turkey Vultures are back in central VT/NH. Recognizing them is not too hard – they’re bigger than any other raptor in New England except for eagles.  At a distance Turkey Vultures look all black, but a closer look reveals that the undersides of the flight feathers, along the trailing edge and wing tips, are lighter in color than the rest of the bird, giving the wing a two-toned appearance. (Black Vulture wings are solid black with silvery tips.)  The feathers at the wing tips are often separated, which some birders refer to as ‘fingers.’   In addition, vultures hold their wings slightly raised, forming a ‘V’ or dihedral shape in the sky when viewed head-on.   Turkey Vultures soar in circles as they ride the thermals, using their sense of smell to locate tasty carcasses on the ground.