May 25, 2012

Go, Team Vulture

Today M. and I had the assignment of releasing a rehabilitated turkey vulture who had spent a few weeks at the raptor center.

 It had been captured in Cañon City after being hit by a car, but although it had some internal injuries and abrasions, it had been doing well, so the staff judged it ready to go. We decided to take it back to its former summer range.

We let it go from an overlook on the Oak Creek Grade, for those readers who know Fremont County, and it was last seen soaring high toward the Royal Gorge — where I know there has been a large vulture roost in the past, although I have not looked lately.

I put on the official Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer shirt in case someone stopped and asked, "What have you got there? What's in the carrier? You're not dumping your dog, are you?"

Only one car went by, but did not stop. M. shot the photos.

Meanwhile, the "stargazing owl"  from ten days ago did not make it. The vet diagnosed a virus, possibly Newcastle disease. The bird's condition started to deteriorate, and it was euthanized. To be honest, they lose more injured birds than survive, which is why a release is always a happy event.

Ok, vulture, this is your cue.

There goes the turkey vulture. Those are actually dark feathers reflecting light.

Turkey vulture taking flight.

Gaining altitude over the Oak Creek Grade.


Tam said...

Okay, that's kinda awesome.

Galen Geer said...

That's great. Do they still roost at McDonald's? glg

SeEtta Moss said...

That is a great spot to do a raptor release-lots of air to fly off in.
(gosh, you look so 'official' in your DOW volunteer shirt)

Chas S. Clifton said...

Galen--I don't know. I'm not in Cañon that often these days.

SeEtta--that's what I thought too--let the vulture go from up on a ridge.

Anne Johnson said...

Totally awesome. What a great moment that must have been! I saw a vulture released about three years ago, and the handler had trouble getting it to come out of the carrier. Yours looked like it knew exactly what to do. Handler efficiency, no doubt.

mdmnm said...

So, did you guys make the appropriate "v" hand sign as he flew off?

Chas S. Clifton said...

Isn't that the Vulcan vulture sign?

mdmnm said...

Venture Brothers ( Since their catch phrase is "Go Team Venture" I was attributing that as the source of your title. "Venture Brothers" essentially posit what it would look like if Johnny Quest had grown up a bit of a neurotic mess and continued in his father's business of being a super scientist with twin boys of his own. I recommend it.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Whoa, too much exegesis. :)

I have not looked at Adult Swim for ages.