Buzzards in my back yard

Actually my neighbor’s fence. Behold, the California Turkey Vulture. Beautiful plumage.

Looking out the window, I saw several of these birds circling low and figured they had probably detected a dead animal nearby. They are pretty common here in California, often seen effortlessly soaring the skies on thermals, but you usually don’t see them close to the ground unless they’ve found some carrion. So I quickly bolted the 100-400mm onto the camera and shot outside to see what they were after. It turns out they were just having a rest on next door’s fence.

At 2½ feet tall and with a six foot wingspan they’re quite big. Not the most beautiful of birds, but they serve a purpose by clearing the environment of rotting dead meat. It’s called the Turkey Vulture because its bald red head resembles that of a turkey, not because it’s especially closely related to one.