This post will serve to document an unusual wildlife interaction that I witnessed recently. I have never seen this kind of behavior before.

Turkey Vultures like to congregate on certain parts of the Lewisville Lake dam. By late in the morning they will gather into various groups of a dozen or so birds to sun their wings. Vultures engage in this sunning behavior because it helps to sanitize their feathers. Feeding on carrion can be nasty business, and the vultures use the sun’s ultraviolet rays to kill disease causing microbes that have collected on their bodies.

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

This late December morning was no different, and I noticed several groups of the big black birds gathered at various spots along the side of the dam. One group in particular caught my attention because it was much closer to the road than the others.

I stopped to take a few pictures and was surprised to notice an Armadillo foraging among this group of vultures. The Armadillo seemed to be just going about its business, but would sometimes move closer to the vultures. Other times this or that vulture would move toward the Armadillo as if to investigate what he was doing.

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Eventually, one vulture got too close to the Armadillo, and the Armadillo charged the bird in order to drive it away. The vulture flapped its wings and retreated a short distance.

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

This kind of interaction was repeated a number of times by different vultures until it just got to be too much for the Armadillo. In what looked like a fit of frustration, the Armadillo started charging all of the vultures around him until they were all forced to take flight.

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

As this group of vultures became airborne, others from all over the dam began to join in, and soon the air was full of circling Turkey Vultures. The show seemed to be over, and I was on a bit of a schedule that morning, so I moved on at that point.

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

When I came back roughly two hours later, I found the same group of birds with the same Armadillo gathered together just a little higher up on the dam. They were still having the same types of interactions, except the Armadillo did not force the birds to take flight this time. Very odd.

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association

Turkey Vulture - Armadillo Association