Turkey Vulture
Cathartes aura
The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a widespread species over most of North, Central, and South America. It is often a common and conspicuous species and one which is familiar to most people. Like its cousin, the Black Vulture, Turkey Vultures feed on carrion and perform a very necessary service as "nature's undertakers". The Turkey Vulture on shown here was spreading his wings on an April morning in south Texas while standing in a patch of wild flowers. This shot was taken in Kenedy Co., Texas with a Canon EOS 1N and EF 600mm F/4 L lens on Fuji Provia film.
The shot shown here shows a Turkey Vulture (left) perched next to a Black Vulture, for an interesting comparison. This shot was taken at the same time and location as the image above.
The shot shown here, and the next two after that one, are digital captures and were all taken in Real Co., Texas, during May, 2003, with a Canon EOS 10D and EF 600mm F/4 L lens. The head of a Black Vulture is visible on the shot to the left.
The shot shown here, and the next two below it, were digital captures in Hidalgo Co., Texas, in April, 2006. These images were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens.
The shot shown here and the next one were taken in November, 2006, at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Aransas Co., Texas, with the same gear as above. Black Vultures are visible in both these images as well.
Birds have a protective membrane, called a nictitating membrane, which that can close over the eye briefly to clean and/or protect it. This is in addition to the eyelid. The Turkey Vulture shown here has briefly closed this membrane and in the shot at right it is open again. These 2 shots, and the next 2 below, show Turkey Vultures at Big Band National Park, Brewster Co., Texas, in May, 2010.
The Turkey Vulture in flight on the right was taken in eastern Travis Co., Texas, in January, 2011, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and an EF 800mm F/5.6 L IS lens.