So...earlier this Spring I began to notice a little group of turkey vultures hanging out on the power lines on the way to M's school. They were usually sitting in that creepy, arms-raised-like-a-scene-from-a-scary-movie pose. And their heads are just plain gross. They were creeping me out.
Then, one day, after dropping M off, I noticed a huge flock of giant birds flying in a tornado form. It warranted a quick google search.
I discovered that it was probably a kettle (official vulture-talk for "group of circling vultures") of vultures rising on a thermal. It totally means that vultures don't waste time beating their wings to soar to high altitudes--they just find pockets of rising hot air and ride the wave. Now, that's kind of cool. They were starting to win me over. ;)
Google also told me that the creepy pose is called the "horaltic" pose and they do it to warm up. Also, they "go potty" on their legs to cool off AND because they have these seriously insane stomach acids that kill everything (even stuff like anthrax--no way), so the whole potty business takes care of any lingering germs on their legs. Gross--yes--but simply fascinating.
Needless to say, I (and consequently everyone in my care) kind-of love watching for the latest wake, venue or committee of vultures. Who would have ever guessed? :)
In Case You Just Want to Know More (I mean, who wouldn't? haha ;)
Happy Vulture-Spotting! ;)