On the drive home the other day, I spotted turkey vultures congregated beside the road. I wanted to know what they were up to, of course, so I found a place to turn around and drove back. As is often my problem, I was on a fast road with little chance for safe stopping. I pulled over carefully, right into their midst, and they yielded place reluctantly. One of them hopped from the ground to the top slat of a metal gate. That had been my landmark, so I'd know where to stop when I drove back, but in fact I had no need for the landmark; the vultures were still there, and they stayed as I crowded my car up to them. It seemed as if they were waiting to see whether I'd just move on. But they yielded, flew off, and I could see them circling above—some of them far above, as I've seen many times, their fingered wings marking their silhouettes; one was much lower, circling behind the trees, close enough to show the raw hamburger color of his head. And there was that one that hopped to the gate, then waited another few seconds before taking to the air.
It was only after they'd moved up and out that I could see what they'd been eating. It was a deer, mostly gone: Rib cage, feet looking clubby and strange where they lay disarticulated and tangled in torn grass; most striking of all, the head, perking up as if to listen like living deer do. But it only looked at me with hollow sockets.
My other turkey vulture encounters:
And Steve V.'s encounter with black vultures: