The Texas Turkey Vulture is a huge bird in flight and considered to be a very sacred animal totem by the native Americans. If you’re not familiar with the term “totem” it’s basically an animal that has specific “medicine” or teachings. And it’s thought that if you see certain ones repeatedly or it simply captures your attention, it is delivering a message to you. Such as finding a little ladybug land on you or always seeing bees.
I took this photo while walking around the Canyon Lake Dam in Texas. He literally swooped over my head and played on the air currents for a few minutes. It was like he was coming specifically to say hello. And for me, it was pure magic.
I remember seeing the Turkey Vultures overhead when I first arrived in Austin and thought they were hawks of some kind until someone told me they were vultures. At the time I hadn’t thought of or knew anything about animal totems. I eventually went on to study shamanic practices and began to pay more attention to the living things surrounding me and looked at the vultures in an entirely new light.
They are believed to bring balance between life and death. They are raptors but not birds of prey. They only eat what has already died which is why they are considered scavengers. Most people think of that as lower on the food chain but I personally love it. They don’t kill their prey and when they do find food, they are very community orientated and call out to others to come share. Which is why you will usually see them in groups dining away.
So now when you see one flying above you, I hope you will take a deep breath of gratitude for the good work they do and their place in the world. I sure do.