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In love with vultures: meet Ralph, my model for Pika’s Peak!

A turkey vulture exclaims angrily, "Got meself all hopped up anticipatin' a right proper meal, and he turns up not dead. The nerve of some critters!" The rabbit he is gesturing to is dismayed and is pulling away.

A beautiful male turkey vultureHAPPY INTERNATIONAL VULTURE AWARENESS DAY!!!  (flails with uncontrollable glee and plays the kazoo with feeling)

Come on. Seriously. Stop a minute and really look at that sweet face! Those delicate eyelashes! Those bright eyes! Those elegant nostrils!

I was gonna call this post “Falling in love with turkey vultures…”, but I realized that wasn’t accurate. I’ve always loved them. As far back as I can remember, I’ve seen them soaring way, way up high, circling dramatically, wings spread wide, and all I could think was: glorious.

Apparently turkey vultures can soar about riding the thermals without flapping their wings for up to six hours. That seems like a super power to me.

Early on, I remember asking what that huge elegant bird was – some type of hawk? “No, dear, that’s just a turkey vulture.” Just. Just? How can something that magnificent be described as just anything? Why is it better to be a hawk than a vulture? Screw that noise. “But those HEADS!” a friend exclaimed, when I tried to explain my admiration. And I thought, you got a problem with bald critters? I’ve known a lot of really handsome bald men, and a few gorgeous bald women besides, so really, what’s the issue with bald birds? Dude, expand your horizons.

Anyway. It’s not surprising at all that a turkey vulture found his way into Pika’s Peak early on. But I wanted to do the character justice in my drawings for the comic.

…Continue reading about turkey vultures & my comic Pika’s Peak on Patreon…

P.S. – You can now pre-order your copies of Issue #1 of Pika’s Peak! This helps us know how many to print (and helps us pay for them), and guarantees you a copy when they’re available in late September. $10 gets you the comic and a really cool Pika’s Peak magnet, and helps us keep the comic going! Want gorgeous postcards and posters too? Read about how to get them here.