Vultures are a well-known, but underappreciated member of the bird world, point out officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Few people realize it, but the large, dark-colored birds that many refer to as “buzzards” perform valuable roles in nature.
MDC invites people to learn more about these often-misunderstood birds through three virtual programs on Saturday. 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, say organizers.
The vulture appreciation kicks off with the “Meet a Vulture” online program from 10 to 11 a.m. In 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 live chat.
Register for this all-ages program at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176203.
Following this program, children can learn more about vultures at the MDC virtual program “Superhero Vultures!” from 1 to 1:30 p.m. This program, designed for ages 5 to 10, features MDC volunteers and staff who 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.
Register for this program at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176180.
MDC’s vulture appreciation day will conclude with “Scavengers in the Sky,” a virtual program from 3 to 4 p.m. In 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.
Register for this program designed for ages 5 and up, at mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176135.
Though these programs are free, registration 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.
Find out more about Saturday’s 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.