|Not even his momma loves this face.|
photo by Paco Lyptic
Turkey vultures need that bald head so they can dip into a gooey meal without fouling any feathers. But the head is just one piece of the ugly that this bird can claim. Consider its method of self-defense: projectile vomiting (but try not to consider just what it is they would urk up), and its self-cooling strategy of excreting on its legs.
My friend Greta, a poet, once asked me to identify the birds with the silvery underwings that she liked to watch rocking and gliding in the thermals. She felt a certain kinship with them, she told me, an affinity. I think she identified with them a little less after I explained about the projectile yarfing and the pooping-on-the-legs habit. But hey, if anyone can see the beauty in a turkey vulture, it would be a poet.