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TUCSON’S FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN



Preparing for flight on the PINAL PIONEER PARKWAY Thursday Morning ten TURKEY BUZZARDS warmed and dried their wings against the Morning Sun near the entrance to the FALCON VALLEY RANCH on AZ HWY 79 nine miles north of Oracle Junction. These area has been recognized as a key spot for raptor viewing, even an osprey has nested nearby, the Turkey Buzzards are an added bonus. The Turkey Vulture is common in the United States, its keen sense of smell is vital for finding carrion, contrary to popular belief, this bird enjoys plant matter as well. The Turkey Vulture soars above the ground for most of the day, searching for food with its excellent eyesight and highly developed sense of smell. Extremely non-confrontational, the Turkey vulture will not feed on live prey, an occasional habit of its cousin the black vulture. Turkey Vultures, like these, are often seen along roadsides, cleaning up roadkill. The turkey vulture is one of the most skilled gliders among the North American birds. It migrates across the continents with minimal energy output. Vultures launch themselves from their perches only after the morning air has warmed. Then, they circle upward, searching for pockets of rising warm air, or thermals. Once they have secured a thermal, they allow it to carry them upward in rising circles. When they reach the top of the thermal, they dive across the sky at speeds near 60 miles per hour, losing altitude until they reach another thermal. All this is done without the necessity to flap. In fact, the turkey vulture can glide for over 6 hours at a time without flapping a wing! …

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