Saturday, April 14, 2012

Identifying Birds - Hawks and Turkey Vultures

Merry Meet :)))

I have recently started working on trying to identify birds.  For some of you that follow me you know that one of my spirit animals is the hawk :))) I have a family of red-tailed hawks that live in my backyard that I love to watch.  Recently I was seeing huge flocks of what I thought were hawks.  I noticed that the coloring was much different. So I set out to identify what type it may be and was suprised to find out they were turkey vultures.

I noticed that when I saw my hawk it always tended to be alone, and I would either see it sitting somewhere or it would fly by for a moment or two.  Whereas the vultures would circle in the air.  When you go to google images or look up the two birds it's very easy to see the difference.  However, when they are wayyyyyyy up there in the air it can be very difficult to tell.  Especially if the sun is shining brightly.  If you look at the picture below you will see the similarities in structure on the bird.  A huge difference is the head, but you can't always make that out when they are high above you.  I've learned now to spot the color differences.  I just found it interesting how similar these two birds looked and thought it might interest some of you.

I'm one who always loves learning new things.  :)))  I found a really nice blog post on Turkey Vultures here:   She does a really nice job of explaining about turkey vultures and their spiritual reading.  The following is a small bit of that blog post.

"The turkey vulture is symbolic of soulful cleansing, reaching a higher spiritual place...overcoming obstacles that we may encounter when trying to fly, but then soaring like an eagle when we get off the ground...cleansing the world bit by bit, day by day, by offering ourselves in service...being peaceful and non-aggressive, defending ourselves from attack, but only in ways that do not harm others. "

They have a really nice facebook page too for those of you on facebook the link is on the sidebar of the blog.  I hope you enjoy! 

Love and Blessings, 

Jasmeine Moonsong


  1. Ooooh, another bird person! Turkey Vulture is my totem, so I have learned to recognize the very visible "V" shape of the body when they soar, even high up. Even the black vulture does not have as distinctive a "V" shape when soaring; maybe the coloring of the Turkey Vulture's wings adds to that?

    I see quite a few different hawks, and yes they do seem to be solitary, unlike the Turkey Vulture, who can be seen either alone or in groups. When roosting in a tree, I mostly see the creamy chest feathers, glowing like a beacon. But hawks seem to have a distinctive flying method. They soar a bit, and then flap-flap-flap their wings and soar some more. If you are near water, you could also be seeing osprey; they look like hawks when roosting, however when in flight, their wings are longer and narrower, and they have that distinctive "W" pattern of darker feathers on the underside of their wings and body.

    I also see eagles, and they are so huge that they are easy to distinguish. Falcons look like hawks when flying, except their wings end in more of a pointy angle rather than the spread and rounded end of "fingers" of primary feathers that you will see on hawks, eagles and vultures.

    Keep watching them, and you will learn their particular traits. And enjoy!!


  2. Jasmeine, well this is very interesting! I live in an area where for me seeing hawks flying through the air or perched on trees as they scan the ground below is a daily event. I find them very fascinating and am drawn to them. Last year I even had one land on my backyard fence and rest for awhile. I bought a book by Ted Andrews called Animal Speak, a guide to animal spirits but not because of the hawks but rather because of a sudden appearance in owls. I no longer see the owls as they made their presence known to me for such a sort time, but the hawks still remain.

    I guess throughout your life, at different moments, depending on where you are at spiritually, mentally, physically, these animals can come into your life and offer you a clue to which path you need to be on or some possibly represent a confirmation to the one you are currently walking down. For me the hawk which came into my life years ago seems to be a steady presence, the owls where unique and undeniably got my attention and upon looking up their symbolism I feel their presence was comforting and confirming and an accurate representation of where I was at in my life during its visits.

    But the part that I find really interesting regarding your post was that you mentioned the turkey vulture. This bird as did the owl only recently enter my life. I have spotted it high in the air several times in the past few months, its size is very large, but as you said, it is hard to distinguish between the hawk. My first encounter with it was a few months ago on a drive taking my daughter to school. As I made a turn around a bend with the car I saw it standing very still, not just one but two! I had to take a double take as I had never seen a bird as such. I thought it looked like the spooky vulture, shaggy and black with a red head and hooked beak.

    I was surprised by the unexpected sighting. But last week another one stood along side the road again and flew off as I passed it by on my way home. My family has talked about them too recently so I find this post yet another strange, syncrhonistic attention grabber for me. Thank you for including the meaning behind this amazing animal's spirit. Again I find its meaning reassuring.



Thank you for stopping by :))) Love and Blessings, Jasmeine Moonsong

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