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Old 08-16-2010, 07:06 PM   #1
Lakesrider
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Default Buzzards or Eagles?

How can you tell a turkey vulture from an eagle in flight.
I was up at the Castle for the car show on Sat. We saw three big birds flying/soaring around. I thought they were eagles, someone else there said they were turkey buzzards. What is the easiest way to tell?
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:20 PM   #2
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This is a turkey vulture:
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So what have we learned in the past two thousand years?

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of Obamunism should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest the Republic become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

. . .Evidently nothing.

(Cicero, 55 BC augmented by me, 2010 AD)
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:33 PM   #3
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This is an Eagle:
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So what have we learned in the past two thousand years?

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of Obamunism should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest the Republic become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

. . .Evidently nothing.

(Cicero, 55 BC augmented by me, 2010 AD)
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:07 PM   #4
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Default This is a turkey.

This is a turkey.

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Old 08-16-2010, 08:13 PM   #5
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Default I wonder...

... if you can tell the difference by the shape and spread of the wings? I wonder if the vulture spreads the tips of it's wings more, or does the tips of it's wings bend up more than the eagles? I wonder if the tail feathers are spread broader?
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:19 PM   #6
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Default Actually, you can . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas Pilot View Post
... if you can tell the difference by the shape and spread of the wings? I wonder if the vulture spreads the tips of it's wings more, or does the tips of it's wings bend up more than the eagles? I wonder if the tail feathers are spread broader?
If you watch the birds while they are soaring, you can tell if it is an eagle or a turkey vulture. The wings of an eagle will appear flat. The wings of a vulture will be at an angle, commonly referred to as a "dihedral". Differentiating a golden eagle from a young bald eagle is more difficult. Bald eagles don't get their distinctive colors until they are four years old.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:41 AM   #7
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Default Turkey vultures tilt

When soaring, turkey vultures tilt back and forth a lot with wings in an upward angle. Eagles fly steady with perfectly flat wings.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:11 AM   #8
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Arrow Birds of Prey Raptor Silhouettes



Note the eagles tail is more flared out.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:52 AM   #9
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When I saw the northern goshawk I thought of this...
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:58 PM   #10
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Wow. Thanks for the replies. I'll have to look closer next time. I just assumed they were all eagles. Well except for the hawks and falcons.

I was at my garage in Gilford today and as I was standing there a small falcon flew down the driveway toward me, but flared up and went over the top of the garage. It was pretty cool watching it fly right at me.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:02 AM   #11
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Wink It's All in that Common Term, "Dihedral"

My birding friends do winter "counts" of these Turkey Vultures, and they use the shorthand "TV" when speaking of them.

("Buzzards" are mostly birds of the "Old World"—amd there are many species of them!)

This government-site has a good explanation, but its images appear only sporadically:

http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3320.htm

Most often, it's the purple "head-on" sketch below the black silhouette that allows an easy identification.

I've moved the three images into the three "attachments", below, which should endure the years.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:24 PM   #12
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Speaking of Buzzards....Kathy and I were driving home tonight about 4 pm. (Just after that accident in front of Skellys.) We were driving by that big field on RT109 near the Suissevale entrance in Moultonborough. Just past the field and up high were about 10 of them hovering around. Maybe something was dead beyond the field. I know there is a big farm back there off of RT 171.

Sorry I was driving the sports car so no camera with me.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #13
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Wink A Knee-Capping by TV...

Turkey Vultures don't have the sharp, strong beaks with which to start feeding on a carcass. They wait for a coyote, fox, or hawk to start the process. (A good thing, as they prefer their food "aged".)

When Turkey Vultures gather, they most often circle in large clusters termed "kettles". These gatherings are more for keeping inside a natural hot-air current. (An updraft). The "lift" from the updraft keeps the Turkey Vultures from the flapping their wings to stay aloft.

Flapping uses a lot of energy, which in raptors can be overcome by seizing live prey. Since Turkey Vultures seldom take live prey, Turkey Vultures have to be patient, so they HATE to flap.

When a carcass is available, Turkey Vultures will gather overnight in the trees overlooking their stationary and intended meal. At the earliest rays of sunrise, only then, will they start dining. It is sometimes comical to see Turkey Vultures who can't get airborne because of overfeeding: If they go anywhere, they have to hop!

Florida's superheated roadways generate "micro-updrafts": Some Turkey Vultures are seen soaring very low. When I've been out on a walk, some have nearly collided with me—at knee-level!
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:11 PM   #14
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The attached picure shows, in aerodynamic terms, the definition of dihedral angle. A vulture's 'dihedral' is greater than an eagle's. Also their head and neck have no feathers, hence the name turkey vulture.
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So what have we learned in the past two thousand years?

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of Obamunism should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest the Republic become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

. . .Evidently nothing.

(Cicero, 55 BC augmented by me, 2010 AD)
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