Today is International Vulture Awareness Day 2023. I admit to having a soft spot for vultures because they are often misunderstood, and because I tend to stand up for those who have no voice.
Juvenile Black Vulture in nest, Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
In North America, we have three vulture species: Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures, and California Condors. Black and Turkey Vulture populations are relatively stable. California Condors are making a comeback, although avian flu has recently been affecting their numbers. Every California Condor chick that fledges is a reason to celebrate.
For me, this year was kind of special because, for the first time, I was able to photograph Black Vulture chicks in their nest with my dear friend and fellow photographer, Steve Creek, at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.
I wasn’t with Steve when the Black Vulture chicks fledged from their nesting cavity in an old tree on the refuge but you can read Steve’s story about that on his website.
Two Turkey Vultures on a spring morning, Box Elder County, Utah
Old World Vultures are in trouble, and that is why International Vulture Awareness Day was started—to bring attention to and highlight the importance of vulture conservation. Vultures are a vital part of the planet’s ecosystem and are currently facing numerous threats in the wild, with some species nearing extinction.
What Can We Do For Vultures?
When we are in the field and interacting with other people around vultures, we can discuss their importance to the environment and educate people about how valuable they are as nature’s cleanup crew. That alone would be of great assistance.
Maybe we’ll never be able to get other people to love vultures, but perhaps we can help them to appreciate what they do.
Life is good.
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Autor Mia McPherson