It probably will never be said that vultures are beautiful birds; although, I bet their mothers think they are quite fetching. However, the big birds perform a much needed service; cleaning up road kill and other animals who have met their demise.

It certainly is not a pretty sight to see a large group of vultures fighting over a corpse of a fallen animal, but if there were no vultures in Florida, the carcasses would soon become very unpleasant.

There are two types of vultures in Florida. The black vulture has deep black feathers and a dark skinned head. Turkey vultures have brown shaded feathers and a red head.
Black vultures tend to feed in groups, while turkey vultures are more prone to feed alone. Turkey vultures use their sense of smell to locate carrion. Black vultures are more likely to find food by sight or by following other vultures.

The photos of the black vultures were taken at Myakka River State Park.

As we paid to enter the park, we were handed a park map and a little flyer about the resident vultures. It seems that the big birds have developed a taste for rubber. That’s right, rubber. The brochure warns that the vultures may try to tear off sections of windshield wiper blades, tires, vinyl tops or any other rubber on a car. They don’t eat the rubber; they just like to tear it up and chew on it.

Vultures are protected by Federal law; it is illegal to hurt or kill them, even if they become a nuisance.  The best that the park rangers can do, is set off loud air cannons to scare off the birds for awhile.

Both types of vultures do not build nests for their eggs. Instead, they lay their eggs on the ground. They have an odd practice of keeping the eggs cool in the hot Florida climate; they defecate on them. No wonder they eat dead animals, they are brought into the world in a smelly environment.


FOG sez:

I worry about taking a nap; sleep too long and the vultures start circling. Maybe I don’t smell so good?