I have been reviewing the video recording from the vulture nest cam. WOW!
This eight week old turkey vulture chick makes the long climb out of the nesting cavity. The hollow of this oak tree is 14 feet deep. The second chick makes its appearance the next day, it will take some time for me to pull the footage. When I get it done, I will post it here.
This is like watching a baby take tentative steps. Bliss.
The turkey vulture chicks are about 6.5 weeks old. Most large birds fledge around 10 to 11 weeks. Their chick down is giving way to juvenile feathers. The nest is becoming crowded. Their plumage will gradually shift to dark brown. It will be two years before the skin on their bald heads becomes red.
Previously, the chicks just observed and hissed at the GoPro. This time, they lunged at it so it will be the last visit by the GoPro. Soon they will climb out of the deep cavern they call home and begin living in the upper world.
At 6.5 weeks old the chicks are changing rapidly.
A little camera shy. The red glow is the GoPro record light.
No Place for UGLY Birds – a picture book about turkey vultures.
It’s Tuesday, time for a Turkey Vulture (TV) update.
The turkey vulture chicks have grown rapidly their first 4 weeks. They are beginning to get their juvenile plumage. Notice the dark brown, nearly black, feathers showing up in the wings and down their backs.
Capturing pictures of the turkey vulture chicks in this deep nest requires some old school photography techniques. Everything is set manually. I preset the focus, set the aperture, shutter, and flash. Then I hold the camera over the entrance to the nest and take a series of shots. I can’t see anything, even if I were to stick my head into the dark deep nest. After the flash fires the first time, the chicks begin their eerie vocalizations. My friend, Rhythm, over at Reading With Rhythm calls turkey vultures “spooky birds.” The ominous sound made by the chicks, plays into that role perfectly.
Turkey vultures do not have voice boxes. They only grunt and hiss. The eerie ghostly sound in the video is the sound the turkey vulture chicks make. No chirpy chickies here.
This little guy was all sprawled out on the nest floor. Must have been a busy day.
The chicks begin hissing a warning…stay away…they hiss.
The turkey vulture chicks are about 3 weeks old. I was amazed at the lack of odor from the nest cavity opening. Previously, when a parent was in the nest, the smell was malodorous. This time, however, with only the chicks, I was shocked at the lack of stench when capturing this image. Curious because it looks like it should smell bad.
Brooding turkey vulture in a 14 ft. hollow of a blue oak tree. This image is a composite of 3 photos.
Peering down the vulture hole, I am amazed at the ability of the turkey vultures to climb in and out of this nesting location. It is fourteen feet from the opening to the base.
It is unclear whether this brooding vulture is on eggs or new chicks. It should be nearing time for the eggs to hatch, if my calculations are correct. On March 5th & 6th , I recorded the pair breeding at the entrance and the female retreating inside the nesting cavity. I am making an educated guess that this was around the time of laying their eggs. Most sources site 34-40 days incubation. Sources are vague on the day count, but in all fairness who counts days for vultures hatching? The UStream Missouri turkey vultures incubated for 34 days in 2012.
Both parents incubate the eggs and share in raising the chicks. I do not know when incubation began for this pair.
So for now, all I know is…
Tukey-vultures Are Residing Down Inside Shelter.
TARDIS…bigger in the inside. 😉
I can’t help but notice, a few followers have dropped off since I started the turkey vulture posts. There is more to come, and on Friday, I will reveal why I have been stalking turkey vultures.
In the meantime, I must get a better system for surveillance. I mounted an old video surveillance camera to view the turkey vulture nest tree in our backyard.
The video is bad at its best. As a backup, I mounted a wildlife cam on a ladder near the nest cavity. Today, the nesting pair gave quite the display. The footage is highly pixelated with poor image quality in general.
I headed out to retrieve the SD card out of the wildlife cam, but it was knocked askew sometime before the mating.
Any suggestions are welcome for a product that will allow us all to view this pair. They should start incubating eggs soon. Typically, their chicks start to fledge mid June around our area.
I know, I know, somewhere in here is bliss, but who can find it amongst the low res pixilation?
I thought about not posting this video, but figured some of you reading this post might have some suggestions.