How can a vulture be so majestic?

RaptorAround noon today I was down in the Mt. Diablo, CA area for one of my daughter’s soccer games. The soccer field was in the hills and effortlessly soaring above the field for much of the game was the bird whose picture is above.

The wingspan looked to be about 3.5 feet and it looked like some kind of bird of prey.

Can anyone name this amazing bird?

As it turns out it is a turkey vulture as best as I can tell. When I think “vulture”, I think ugly and other negative things, but this bird in flight is literally awesome and powerful. The arrangement, symmetry and colors of its feathers are a natural work of art. You can be sure that the molecular and genetic orchestra that makes this bird is also a thing of beauty.

2 Comments


  1. It is a turkey vulture I used to see them all the time as they would circle over Sailor Bar in Fair Oaks when I was growing up. They have a majestic wing span and one of the greatest olfactory system in the world. They are one of natures wonders that are not looked uppon in the right light.


    • They are really quite striking. I wonder if they literally can smell the carrion on the ground from hundreds of feet in the air in addition to their great vision?

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