Well, the large dark birds with featherless red heads that I want to thank are turkey vultures (Cathartes Aura). We all owe these carrion-eating raptors plenty of gratitude. They also deserve some awe.
Turkey vultures eat dead stuff. They find carrion with keen eyesight and a very unique olfactory sense. In fact, the turkey vulture has the largest olfactory system of ALL birds. They are capable of smelling carrion as far as a mile away. That’s pretty cool.
Turkey vultures clean up the remains of hundreds of thousands of dead animals in North America every year. Thank you, Turkey Vultures.
As they are making meals out of all this dead meat, they come into contact with the planet’s grossest, toxic bacteria but thrive nevertheless. How they do that is fascinating scientists. Super cool.
Because of turkey vultures’ amazing acidic gut biome, their feces create a beneficial disinfectant slurry which stems the spread of wildlife disease-causing bacteria. Obviously this is good for the environment.
And, turkey vultures are descendants of dinosaurs which is serious, evolutionary cool.
For the kids, here is a coloring book image online.
Gotta go. Mags is saying something about how this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind for a T-day greeting.