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Rookie question: Buzzards

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by cratz2, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    I live in central Indiana and see these birds flying high overhead, circling. Usually between 2 and 5 at a time, sometimes alone. They do look for dead animals as I watched a group of 3 for several hours one day while the wife was at a baby shower. They have smooth heads and I always though of buzzards as having bald heads ala condors.

    Are these birds buzzards? Does anyone around these parts hunt them? I'd imagine with their eatin' preferences, they spread some nasty disease but then, who am I to judge? :p
  2. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, buzzards don't have much in the way of feathers up top. Easier for them to keep clean.

    I've read that the acids in a buzzard's stomach are about the strongest of any animal. No "bug" survives their digestive tracts...

  3. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Though some call them buzzards the are turkey vultures. They winter in central america and head north for the summer. They eat carrion but only fresh . They also have a highly developed sense of smell apparently for finding carrion in very thick jungle where they can't see the ground. Their dihedral wings ( shallow V ) make them tilt back and forth as they fly. They are one of the most efficient flyers.
  4. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    Hrmm... I wonder what these birds are than have a feather-covered head? These look about like falcons but I didn't think falcons got quite this size.

    Anyone in Indiana, or that drives through Indiana care to comment? You almost can't drive 30 miles without seeing them just off highways etc...
  5. jmbg29

    jmbg29 member

    [​IMG] Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

    More closely related to Storks and Ibis etc. than to raptors, or Old World Buzzards.
  6. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Well-Known Member

    There is a species of Black Vulture too. They look like their heads are feathered, but the heads are bare like the Turkey Vultures only black skin instead of pink.

    We have both here. The black ones are more aggressive then the Turkey buzzards and will chase them away from a carcass.
  7. BIGR

    BIGR Well-Known Member

    They clean up alot of dead animals. I have even seen them eating on a road kill from time to time. In some states it is illegal to hunt them. I have heard several times that if one is flying above you and you make it mad that it will vomit on you. Imagine all that good juicy road kill juice falling from the sky on you.
  8. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Well-Known Member

    You wouldn't want to shoot your garbage man would you?:confused:
  9. Peter Gun

    Peter Gun Well-Known Member

    If you ever go to Gettysburg, you'll see an incredible concentration of turkey vultures. The legend is that after the battle they came from all over and feasted for weeks, so that to this day there is still an unusually large population. I would think that over 150yrs they might redistribute, but there do sem to be an awful lot of those buggers around that area.
  10. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    We'll I'm sure dead animals in my particular area would be eaten by dogs, coyotes etc...

    I'm not really wanting to go on a mass buzzard killing spree, I was mostly interested in what sort of birds they were. I really think these are different than those that have been mentioned. Their heads look fully feathered to me, not just bald black heads.
  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    I recommend you browse a Barnes & Noble, in the "bird book" section. I like Roger Tory Petersen's books.

    Not only many color plates, but such aids to recognition as silhouettes of raptors in flight, for instance. Also info on nesting habitats as well as migration patterns.

    Saves a lot of guessing and, "I wonder...?"

    :), Art
  12. DadOfThree

    DadOfThree Well-Known Member

    If you see them sitting just off the road on fence posts and telephone poles and are large and fully feathered, they are probably the Red Tailed Hawks. We have a lot of the in central Indiana. They won't be seen in groups though, just singles. Buzzards hang out in groups.
  13. Greybeard

    Greybeard Well-Known Member

    Altho I realize now it was illegal, I was in the right (wrong!) place at the right (or wrong!) time and shot a buzzard with a 20 gauge when I was around 12. It almost landed on me! And stink! :( :barf: :barf: :barf: :( Granny made me bury it pronto. Learned a lesson that day. :barf:

    I believe buzzards are "protected" most places. See now 'em around our place north of DFW airport just about every day. Got a 150' cell phone tower just east of range and they like to rest there. Counted 44 of 'em on tower just before sundown a couple of years back.
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Greybeard, I almost got myself "rained on" by a buzzard, back in my early centerfire daze. I was using swaged-down 80-grain flat-nose .32-20 bullets in my '06, in front of a whole bunch of 3031. Probably running 3,600 or better.

    Ever noticed how a buzzard will soar into the wind and pause quite briefly before peeling off downwind? I had one of them do that right above me. With all the intelligence, judgement and mature wisdom of a typical 16-year-old, I just snap shot him. Center-punched that sucker!

    And ran. Very quickly!

    :D, Art
  15. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Well-Known Member

    They eat carrion but only fresh

    More ethical than lawyers.
  16. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    My Turkey Vulture Tale

    My wife and I were doing some guided rock-climbing, and she spotted some large birds while we were setting up some anchors on a 100' cliff.

    She commented to the guide "Wow, those are some really big hawks."

    The guide just grinned and said, "Nope, those are turkey vultures. The like to fly around and wait for a climber to screw up."
  17. Sisco

    Sisco Well-Known Member

    Actually, once you get past the smell, turkey buzzard tastes a lot like chicken. They taste a whole lot better than California Condor but not near as good as Bald Eagle, Whooping Crane or Passenger Pigeon. Passenger Pigeon is by far the best but I haven't seen any around for a long time now.
  18. six 4 sure

    six 4 sure Well-Known Member

    If you think 3-5 is neat wait till you find a roost. Very creepy/cool. I was way up in a canyon looking for a good spot to go camping when I noticed about ten of them flying. Then I saw another 20 in the trees. Thought about taking a shot to scare them, (then really thought) and honked the horn instead. Thirty of them flying in the air is something to see.

  19. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious Well-Known Member

    one twilight, i spooked about 30 vultures out of a group of trees at the base of Devils Tower.

    me wonders if the buzzards have made it to Hinckley yet...

  20. GinSlinger

    GinSlinger Well-Known Member

    Living across the street from high tension power lines has yielded some interesting things (aside from the lukemia)(kidding). It's not uncommon to see 60-70 turkey vultures roos there for the night. In the morning they spread thier wings to sun (dry off the dew and warm up). Once heard an amazingly loud pop, and upon going outside to investigat found that one of those "buzzards" had gone and touched a wire while sitting on the tower. It still gripped the line, but was hanging upside down--and stank, even from 150 yds away. Took that bird two days to fall......


    (Also hit one with my car once. Broken windshield and the absolute worst smelling mess to clean up (and I work in a bar). Have a friend who had to sell his truck because he couldn't get the small out of it after one flew threw his windhield)

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