Another Saltmarsh Denizen…

Turkey Vulture in Flight

Meet one of nature’s unsung heroes, making the marsh and countryside more beautiful and safe…

I photographed this Turkey Vulture at a distance on an impulse, not sure who  he might be and happy to practice tracking birds on the wing.

Sadly, people revile him and that’s cruelly unfair, because he does nothing but good for the rest of us.

Why? People just recoil from that red, featherless head. This is actually a very sensible evolutionary adaptation to his diet, preventing infection from the carcasses he cleans from our environment.

Think of the incredibly important service he does for us. Without carrion eaters, the countryside would be littered with putrid, stinking, slowly decomposing corpses of dead birds and animals, attracting rats and breeding disease.

And what harm does he do us? Other than the odd carcass that an eagle might want, our vulture consumes almost nothing that we—or some more beautiful bird—might prefer.

So, although I admit to shooting this photo by accident, and sharing the involuntary revulsion that nearly all of us feel toward him, I wish to say that I cherish this beautiful bird.

This post is a salute to nature’s sanitation service.



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