People around the world celebrate International Turkey Vulture Day every year on the first Saturday of September. This year, the day falls on September 2. As an ecological observance aimed at raising awareness, the celebration recognizes the importance of vultures, a unique species of birds, in our ecosystem. These birds are constantly living under challenging conditions and face many threats. Besides the negative image that vultures have garnered as scavengers, they are ecologically vital and worthy of preservation and care. In this special celebration, we champion the uniqueness of this species.
History of Turkey Vulture Day
International Turkey Vulture Day is an international celebration created as a global effort coordinated between many governments and animal conservation associations. South Africa and England are some of the first countries to observe this day and organize events and conservation initiatives for vultures. Vulture conservationists are now much better equipped and publicize their efforts.
Although vultures are known for their negative image as scavenger birds, they haven’t always had this reputation. During ancient times, they constituted a significant iconography for many mythological gods. One of the most prominent examples is Nekhbet, a goddess and patron of Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian royalty even wore vulture crowns, one of the most recognizable pieces of archaic clothing, as a form of protection. In many ancient South American civilizations, vultures were a significant symbol.
Several sub-species of vultures are now distinguished, making them one of the most diverse species in the world. Despite their genetic diversity, many sub-species of vultures face a conservation crisis and are threatened with extinction. Poisoning is one of the most common causes of death among vultures, especially in Africa. Wind energy collision is also a common cause, notably in Eurasia. Animal poaching and poisoning result in many vulture deaths, as they often rely on dead animals as a source of sustenance.
As of the early 2000s, several programs for breeding and conservation of vultures have been initiated. These programs aim to raise awareness of the issue and its possible implications. As a significant part of our ecosystem, vultures need as much attention and care as other animals.
Turkey Vulture Day timeline
Several countries like India and South Africa begin realizing this issue.
Several international associations declare vultures endangered as their population dwindles.
The South African government initiates a vulture conservation project to help with the dwindling population.
India establishes the first vulture conservation center in Uttar Pradesh.
Turkey Vulture Day FAQs
How many vultures are left in the world?
According to several studies, there are approximately 9,000 vultures currently alive in the world.
Where are vultures found?
Turkey vultures typically inhabit the open country. As such, they are mostly found in parts of Asia, Africa, and even in some parts of Europe.
How many types of vultures are there?
There are 23 extant species of vulture. We can distinguish between old-world vultures and new-world vultures.
How to Observe Turkey Vulture Day
Read about the issue
The dwindling of the vulture population is a nuanced issue brought about by many circumstances. Reading about the subject is the first step in understanding what its implications are and how the situation can be improved.
Join in efforts
Join one of the initiatives around the world that focus on saving and growing the vulture population. Make contact with them and see if there is a way by which you can help.
Many associations and efforts focused on saving vulture populations need assistance. Volunteering or donating money will help to achieve their goals.
5 Interesting Facts About Vultures
Vultures are harmless to humans
Despite the negative image they have, vultures are almost harmless to humans.
They help remove waste
Because of the role they play, vultures are extremely efficient at removing waste and dead animals.
Vultures are critically endangered
As of today, the global vulture population is dwindling, despite the important role they play in our ecosystem.
Vultures are silent
Vultures cannot make sounds and mostly grunt or hiss.
Vultures are smart
Unlike other birds, vultures are intelligent and realize that loud noises, large objects, and bright lights won’t harm them.
Why Turkey Vulture Day is Important
It helps save an endangered species
Vultures are an endangered species and are worthy of our help because of the important role they play in our ecosystem. Despite their discomforting eating habits, they are worthy of preservation.
It’s a reminder of the difficulties vultures face
As urban sprawling continues, and conditions for humans and animals improve, vultures are increasingly challenged as their natural habitat shrinks. This is one of the main causes of the dwindling of vulture populations.
It highlights the need for action
Vultures are considered scary by most, and as such, they are not looked after. The dwindling of the vulture population is still not considered urgent by many. As such, this celebration aims to raise awareness of their plight.
Turkey Vulture Day dates