A Baja buzzard that’s not really a buzzard.


Most all of us know this is a buzzard.  This Turkey Vulture is in a family of birds some people seem to look down on.  To some, they’re ugly.  Like I always say “everyone has a mother”.  Maybe a face only a mother could love.  These birds are scavengers.  They eat things that make others sick.  Buzzards provide a great service by cleaning the earth of road kill and all sorts of carrion, carcasses and just plain nasty stuff.  They are also a symbol of death to many.  We’ve seen the cartoons of vultures sitting on a cactus in the desert just waiting for someone to drop.


There is a different bird flying over Baja that gets a bad rap.  This bird is a buteo, a soaring Hawk, not a buzzard at all.  In flight it looks like a Turkey Vulture.  Similar color, and shape.  They even mingle with buzzards to help disguise themselves from the live prey they are searching for. The bird flying on the left is a Turkey Vulture and on the right we have a Zone tailed Hawk.


Pretty much look-alikes when seen from down below unless you really pay attention.  There’s no mistaking this handsome bird when spotted perching on a cardon.





So when you’re looking up at the sky and at a glance see what you think are buzzards, take a closer look and you may see a Zone tailed Hawk.

Zone-tailed Hawk


Before I forget, Cornel Labs is helping birders observe a pair of Red-tailed Hawks nesting if you’re interested.  This live cam is really worth viewing.

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