I had seen these great birds circling in the past, but they were too high to discern for sure what they were. The wing span is incredible!
People have concern for their pets when these creatures come around, but the reality is vultures will not try to eat something without first knowing it is dead. They check this out by pecking at the eye. If the eye responds, they wait.
Also, their talons haven’t the strength to pick up anything of any consequence. Neither do their beaks have the strength to peck at something living.
Their name, Cathartes aura, comes from a Greek word meaning “Cleanser”. That’s all they do…clean up.
I got within 30 feet of them before they realized I was there; they took off one at a time. Their wings flapping sounded like a helicopter just beginning to power up!
Next time you see one of these magnificent birds, consider thanking him for cleaning up instead of condemning him for his looks!