Before we begin our thoughts about the vulture, I want to point something out for you to remember.
During soar, the Vulture holds its wings in a V
During soar, the Osprey holds its wings in a M
Try to remember that while seeing bird in flight. For me, I remember the vulture because it is a V and the others fall into place.
This necessary bird is everywhere in the continental United States. Yes, it does feed by scavenging on carrion whether it be fresh or decayed. They find food by smell and sight while soaring. And yes, we may cringe when we think of their bare red heads, they do serve a purpose on the food chain.
I have not seen them come or go from their communal nightly roosts. Yet, we have seen groups of them circling over head as they stay aloft using the warm air and updrafts to stay aloft. When thermals of warm air are no longer available, and they need to flap, they stop flying and land.
Although we normally see crows and ravens at road kill, there was a time in Lawrence, that Eldon, one of the technicians was coming back from a run and the vultures were sitting on the road having dinner. Eldon did not slow down and one of the buzzards did not light to fly and he hit it. Feathers in a dented grill was evidence enough for the owner to ask what happened. Eldon simple said, "Grandpa didn't get out of the way."
Who ate Grandpa?