Unusual ‘Roosters’

Vulture not the kind of ‘turkey’ to have over for Thanksgiving

Posted on Nov 18 2019 in Outdoors

By Jack Spaulding

Turkey Buzzard photo
Photo by Richard G. Biever

My good friend Tom Stiers phoned the other day seeking my advice. Growing up together in the small town of Moscow, we have shared many an outdoor adventure over the years. So, I was amused but not surprised by his latest close encounter. 

Tom started out, “It seems I have an unusual critter hanging around the house. I’ve never seen anything like it hanging around before. It’s a buzzard.”

Also known as a turkey vulture or turkey buzzard, the aerial roadkill custodian had been gracing Tom and his wife, Barbara, with its company for a few days. “It doesn’t seem to want to fly … it just walks around,” he said.

I asked how close he was able to approach the bird. He said he had ventured as close as 20 feet but was reluctant to go any closer.

I don’t blame him. Buzzards have a really nasty means of self-protection: projectile vomiting at anything they consider threatening. I encountered this myself once with young buzzards in a barn loft outside of Batesville, Indiana. Fortunately, like Tom, I was wary and didn’t get within range.

Tom asked if the bird should be reported. I told him if it didn’t leave of its own accord in a day or so, he could contact the sheriff’s department who in turn would contact the local conservation officer. The officer would survey the situation and determine the best course of action. Buzzards are a state and federally protected species.

But I can just imagine the reaction of a poor wildlife rehabilitator … given such a handsome devil with such refined social graces to nurse back to health!

‘til next time,

JACK SPAULDING is a state outdoors writer and a consumer of RushShelby Energy living along the Flatrock River in Moscow. Readers with questions or comments can write to him in care of Indiana Connection or email jackspaulding@hughes.net.

Note: For more information about turkey vultures, their habits, how to discourage their roosting near you, and what to do if you encounter an orphaned or injured bird, visit the Turkey Vulture Society website at https://turkeyvulturesociety.wordpress.com.

Read Jack’s columns in book form!

A collection of Jack Spaulding’s syndicated columns has been gathered in a full-length book. Culled from his over 30 years as an outdoor journalist, the book showcases his best, funniest and most heartwarming stories. 

Follow Jack into the field and experience firsthand his trials and tribulations as he hunts and fishes while sharing tips and tried-and-true recipes. Jack wraps the book up with a series of fictional accounts of his childhood growing up on the banks of the Flatrock River in southeastern Indiana.

A great Christmas stocking stuffer for those who enjoy reading Jack’s column in Indiana Connection or for any Indiana outdoors enthusiast, the paperback is available on Amazon for $14.95 and as an e-book.


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