Only A Mother

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I think it's no stretch to say that the Turkey Vulture is among nature's least attractive denizens.  Their red, turkey-like fleshy folds on the face, the bony carapace of the beak and the intense yellow eyes inspire both fear and revulsion.   There's no question that when you get eye to eye with one or a platoon of these birds on the ground or in trees or flying overhead a sense of foreboding is hard to escape.  They can have wingspans of over six feet and their powerful talons and sharp beaks are designed to efficiently separate sinew from bone.

Yet to watch them fly is is to witness a symphony of grace and beauty.  Perhaps no other bird has mastered the art of floating with the air currents as well as the vulture, and they can easily be mistaken for eagles at a distance if it were not for the tell-tale rocking motion they exhibit as they navigate the wind. And they provide a valuable service to nature by dining solely on dead animals, thus removing those carcasses and the septic threats related to them. 

A word of caution though.  They like all animals will protect their young viciously.  I learned that the hard way when, while photographing in an old barn nearby early one morning, I was confronted by not a  Turkey Vulture but a Black Vulture   standing not four feet from me in the dark abandoned building.  Black Vultures nest on the ground or even in structures and I had unwittingly  trespassed close to her young ones.  The protective mother hissed loudly at me, making the hair on the back of my neck stand up and  forcing my early retreat from an otherwise productive session.

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