Today’s Photo of the Day is courtesy of a pair of turkey vultures hanging out at Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery. Of course, there’s a little backstory. There’s always a backstory.
A few days ago, we think we actually saw one of these massive birds in a tree by our house. We’re probably about a mile away from Brys Estate as the crow flies. Or rather, as the turkey vulture flies. But the bird flew away before I could get my camera.
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Then as we were driving by Brys Estate yesterday, we saw two of them perched on a wire in the vineyard along Blue Water Road. After grabbing a few photos, we saw the birds fly to the ground and start picking at something, which turned out to be a poor raccoon who’d expired there. Then we watched as one of the birds flipped the coon over so he could get a better crack at it. Fine dining for the birds. Strong birds!
According to Cornell’s All About Birds website, vultures find much of their food visually, but they have a keen sense of smell. “In 1938, the Union Oil Company discovered that by injecting a strong-smelling organic chemical called mercaptan into gas lines, they could readily find leaks by monitoring vulture activity above the pipelines.”
Vultures get a bad rap, but they really are majestic looking birds – especially while perched in one of our fabulous Old Mission Peninsula vineyards. And apparently, they’re also handy if you ever need to find a gas leak.
A few more photos, including one where the coon is getting flipped over. Their face and beak remind me of one of those masks you’d see at a Mardi Gras celebration.