Brrr! New Mexico in winter is no place for a sun-loving Turkey Vulture. In fact, the entire population leaves our state for warmer climes about September and doesn’t return until mid-March. Their bare-skinned heads leak body heat and make thermoregulation a real challenge when the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
When Beauty, our beloved Turkey Vulture, unceremoniously arrived at our office in January 2018, we were at first incredulous that any vulture would be this far north, but upon learning her backstory, we welcomed her into our cadre of Avian Ambassadors. Surely, it couldn’t be that hard to care for the large, very friendly black bird with the ratty-tatty feathers. That is, until we saw her shiver! And shiver mightily she did! With her whole body in motion, it was clear that she was not at all cold tolerant.
We provided perch heaters and heat lamps but the shivering didn’t go away. Finally, we moved her indoors, where she happily coexisted with the two dogs belonging to our executive director, Gail Garber. It became clear that Beauty had been an indoor bird, at least in winter, and that she seemed to think she was a DOG! Obviously imprinted, she slept with the dogs, played with their toys, and all was well – except for one thing! Excrement! Never-ending-cleaning! Beauty indoors worked well only for her and the dogs, not the human resident of the dwelling. It is not a viable long-term solution to her winter housing situation.
We’ve drawn up the plans, found the materials, solicited volunteers and are ready to build a Winter Greenhouse Home for Ms. Beauty, the imprinted vulture. It will be attached to the side of our director’s house with full east-facing insulated windows as well as a hard-wired heat source to ensure that it never gets colder than 50 degrees!
But, we need your help to buy the materials and construct the heated greenhouse. We estimate the total cost to be about $2,000.
Please donate to our special “Beauty in Winter” mini-fundraiser so our most precious vulture (a charmer to all she meets) is comfortable throughout the long cold winter ahead.
Watch Beauty in action here: https://youtu.be/sDNwt4N8FNchttps://youtu.be/h-BkuQ_xcO4https://youtu.be/mhQwlZsqZTk