BRANSON, Mo. – Vultures are a well-known, but under-appreciated member of the bird world. Few people realize it, but these large, dark-colored birds that many people refer to as “buzzards” perform valuable roles in nature.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites people to learn more about these often-misunderstood birds through three virtual programs on Feb. 27. These programs are the online version of the annual Vulture Venture programs put on by staff at MDC’s Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center. Although many people find vultures disgusting, these birds provide a valuable clean-up service by ridding the environment of dead animals.
The vulture appreciation on Feb. 27 kicks off with the “Meet a Vulture” online program from 10-11 a.m. At this event, staff from Wonders of Wildlife (WOW) in Springfield will partner with Shepherd of the Hills staff to present “Alice,” a live captive vulture that will provide people with an up-close view of these beneficial birds. WOW staff will answer questions (through a live chat feature) about these birds. People can register for this program, which is open to all ages, at:
Following this program, people can learn more about vultures at the MDC virtual program “Superhero Vultures!” from 1-1:30 p.m. At this program, which is designed for ages 5-10, MDC volunteers and staff will explain to kids how vultures should be considered as “superheroes” of the outdoors because of their fascinating physical characteristics and for the benefits they provide. Program presenters will share a short story about how vultures help people and will help the group “build” a vulture that will showcase the bird’s superpowers. People can register for this program at:
MDC’s vulture appreciation day will conclude with “Scavengers in the Sky,” a virtual program from 3-4 p.m. At this program, MDC Naturalist Bryon Putman will discuss the two types of vultures found in Missouri – turkey and black vultures – and will provide details about the fascinating physical traits that allow them to subsist on a steady diet of dead animal flesh. Putman will also provide some interesting vulture trivia. People can register for this program, which is designed for ages 5 and up, at:
Though these programs are free, registration through the links above is required to participate. Registrants must provide an e-mail so a program link can be sent to them. All three of the above-mentioned programs will include chat-based question-and-answer periods in which participants can interact with the presenters.
People can find out more about the Feb. 27 vulture programs by calling MDC’s Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery Conservation Center at 417-334-4865, extension 0.
Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these can be found at mdc.mo.gov/regions.