Our younger daughter went to school on the east coast. Just as she was finishing up, my husband took a temporary job in Washington D.C.. Due to these traveling family members, I have made 3 million trips to the airport. Maybe just two million... but anyway, one diversion from the boredom inherent in making the same 50 mile trip over and over and over has been bird watching. (I do try to pay attention to traffic, though.)
Early on, I noticed that one tree seemed to be a favorite of the local turkey vultures. A half dozen or so could sometimes be seen sitting in one particular tree along the road. The vulture population seemed to increase every year, and after a while they took up residence on the top of a billboard at the top of a hill. There can be as many as twenty vultures on this sign at a time, and I suppose the mess they make up there is beyond belief. Last Fall they disappeared suddenly, and I was worried someone had cleared off the billboard with a shotgun. My older daughter reassured me that they had probably headed south where the roadkill was still unfrozen. She was right as usual, and they all reappeared in the Spring. Here is a picture of this year's bunch before they head out:
I've read that vultures have just fuzz, or no feathers on their heads because the stuff they eat would be hard to get off feathers, and too gross to be something they'd want to wear for very long. Also, I have learned that they like to sterilize their other feathers by sitting in the sun with their wings spread. They do seem to do that a lot while perched on the sign. Featherless heads do not make for an attractive bird, so I prefer to imagine them with hats. Really, wouldn't they look good in those hunter hats with the flaps? Or party hats. Someone photoshop pointy party hats on these guys, and just see what difference that would make!