Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture photograph taken on the Alviso Slough Trail at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso (San Jose) August 2021.

Turkey Vultures are fairly large birds with long, broad wings. Their colors are dark brown with a featherless red head and pale bill. They are graceful but unsteady soarers and fly low to the ground and have a great sense of smell. Turkey Vultures are scavengers and can be seen at roadsides, farm fields, countryside, and landfills. They help clean the environment by eating flesh off dead animals before they decay. Researchers have noted that turkey vultures can travel 200 miles a day. Their life span is up to 24 years old and they live in Southern, Canada, North America, and South America.

Red Tail Hawk

Red Tail Hawk at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Alviso

The Red Tail Hawk is a very common bird in North America. They usually live approximately 21 years and are found in the countryside, woodlands, mountains, plains, and roadsides. The birds are known for effortless soaring and are often seen on roadside poles or sailing over fields and woods. Red Tail Hawk usually have a trademark reddish-brown tail but can also have black, brown, and white plumage. When feeding they usually swoop down on their prey. Their diet includes mammals, birds, reptiles, rabbits, and ground squirrels. The Red Tail Hawks are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and can’t be hunted or bothered.