International Vulture Awareness Day

I had a wonderful day up at Mill Mountain Zoo on Saturday, even though I only got to stay there a couple hours. We were celebrating International Vulture Awareness Day. Vultures are a vital parts of their environments. They help keep disease down by eating carrion that they digest with their highly acidic stomach acids that kill bacteria and viruses. Although vultures are extremely beneficial birds to have around, they face dangers from poisoning (such as lead poisoning), habitat destruction, and hunting.

Meet Mill Mountain Zoo’s Cinereous Vultures!

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This is male, Ivan.

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And this is female, Khana.

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Although they have not yet mated, they are relatively young birds and we hope they will mate some day in order to help ensure sustainable, genetically diverse populations.

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Females are usually bigger than males, and the birds have an almost 10 FOOT wingspan. I was in the enclosure with these birds taking photos, and trust me, that’s a LOT of bird flying at you.

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Khana doesn’t mind showing off her size.

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These vultures live across Southern Europe and Central Asia.

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They are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

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Khana was very inquisitive about me. She flew down to see me almost immediately.

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She kept wanting to get close to see what I was doing. She wasn’t sure about the whole camera thing.

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I LOVE their feathers! Such intricacy and detail!

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Khana seemed to enjoy biting her keeper’s walking stick.

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It’s like she thought it was funny.

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Ivan was content to watch safely from his perch above. I was extremely happy because they both gave me great photos!

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