Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Did One Buzzard Say to the Other?

"Patience, hell...I'm gonna go out and kill something!" 

I disturbed this big ol' fellow from his "lunch" in the field next to my house the other day. They're not the prettiest bird around, but they're really graceful flyers.


Brian Miller said...

better be careful...dont want him to choose you...we have some huge ones at the local zoo...have a marveous tuesday!

Small City Scenes said...

I guess they are also Turkey vultures. We call them that and they look the same. In the summer after haying you see them in the fields looking for lunch. Ours have red heads does yours? MB

Kathy said...

Many a day I've had the exact same sentiments!

Jarart said...

Wow! Great shot of a big bird on the wing. I like to see these Turkey Vultures close up, interesting critters.
One time when we were in Zion National Park a man was pointing out a Turkey Vulture flying overhead and was telling his children it was a Golden Eagle. He looked over at me and I was smiling and he asked if that was right. I said he could call it that if he wanted to but we call them vultures.

Magpie said...

Yes, this is called a Turkey Vulture. I used buzzard because that is always how I heard the joke told. But here is what I found when I went searching on mlive.com:

"It is quite common to hear a vulture referred to as a buzzard, but that is definitely a misnomer.

It is thought that when European settlers arrived in the New World, the large, dark birds soaring overhead reminded them of the Old World raptors they had seen in Europe and referred to as buzzards. Now, hundreds of years later, the mistake remains and we still refer to our New World vultures as buzzards.

Since 1873, ornithologists have made the argument that New World vultures are quite different, biologically speaking, than Old World vultures, and have fought to reclassify birds like the turkey vulture and black vulture. In 1994, due to recent DNA analysis and other studies on anatomy, physiology, behavior and cellular biology, New World vultures were reclassified and placed in the stork family.

Recently, however, the New World vultures have been placed back into the accipitriformes with the rest of the raptors.

So are New World vultures actually raptors? The answer depends on who you ask - and when. Long ago, owls, hawks, eagles, vultures and falcons were contained in a single order, Raptores, from the Latin word for "snatcher.'' Raptors grasp their food with their feet as opposed to their beaks, and therefore it was a behavioral categorization as opposed to biological. There was a push to classify them biologically, and now "raptor'' is a label for a group of birds that are unrelated but have convergent similarities.

While vultures have some of the convergent similarities like a hooked beak and talons, they are not predators "snatching'' their food with their feet. This year, vultures are grouped within the raptor category, but next year, who knows?"

Boy, that really cleared things up...not.

Yes, Mary Beth, ours have the red head also.

Ha Ha, Judy. Too funny!

Jingle said...

timeless post!
what fun!