• Outdoor Radio: Turkey Vultures Soar over the Capital


    A Turkey Vulture soaring high above the building. / © K.P. McFarland

    Outdoor Radio usually takes us to a mountain top,  pond or forest to get close to wildlife. But this month, biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland are on top of the National Life building in Montpelier. For the past several years, National Life employees have been able to watch Turkey Vultures right out their windows. The birds are likely drawn to the rooftop for warmth. They show off their 6-foot wingspans as they soar and land on the building. While Kent and Sara watch these incredible birds, we learn how to identify Turkey Vultures and how it is that they can eat dead animals and not get sick.

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    Images from the Show

    Sara goes first. Through the hatch and onto the roof we go!

    Kent and Sara watch as one soars around the building looking for a place to land. © Ross Sneyd

    Soaring around the building below us. © K.P. McFarland

    Sometimes a slow flap is needed, but not often. © K.P. McFarland

    Soar past us rocking back and forth in the wind. @ K.P. McFarland

    A Turkey Vulture lands and preens on the highest point of the building across from us. @ K.P. McFarland

    The view from the top of the building was incredible. Here the crew is taking it all in. (Left to right: Chris Albertine, Sara Zahendra, Kent McFarland)

    Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with Vermont Public Radio with support from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation.

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    Comments (3)

    1. jrsnelljr says:

      Great!! Love the story and the photos. I live “down” in Montpelier (next VCFA) and have enjoyed watching a group of about a dozen TVs that have roosted and nested in some White Pines nearby on Marvin Street for almost two decades. One cold spring morning I saw them perched in the chimney of a house warming their feet! When they come circling in at the end of the day, it is such a special time.

      • Ah ha! I thought they must roost in some big pines nearby and come to the building to sun! Thanks for that observation! They don’t usually nest in trees unless there is somewhat of a cavity or something in a huge tree. They don’t really build a nest. What an interesting bird. Imagine how smart to perch on a warm chimney!

        • jrsnelljr says:

          Thanks, Kent. My bad about nesting. I just made that assumption. Do visit the site at some point and see what they are up to. Always easy to follow them in at dusk. Are a group of TVs called a “kettle” also??

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