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Vultures are well-known, but under-appreciated members of the bird world.

The Missouri Department of Conservation invites people to learn about these often-misunderstood birds on Feb. 23 at its annual Vulture Venture program. The free event will be from noon to 5 p.m. at the department's Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery, 483 Hatchery Road, at Table Rock Dam near Branson.

Vultures can be seen at Lake Taneycomo throughout the year, but, in winter, this well-known trout-fishing spot attracts hundreds of vultures. One reason is its canyon-like topography. That gives the birds shelter from cold winds. There is also an abundance of sycamore trees that provide these large birds with sturdy roosting sites.

This seasonal mass gathering of vultures provides opportunities to see these birds. Although many people find vultures disgusting, the birds provide a valuable cleanup service by ridding the environment of dead animals.

The Vulture Venture event will consist of outside viewing opportunities and indoor activities. Outside, people will be able to see vultures along the lake through spotting scopes. Indoors at the hatchery's Conservation Center, people can get an up-close-and-personal view of a live, captive vulture furnished by the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield.

No reservations are required for this free event. For more information, call the hatchery at 417-334-4865, extension 0.

Sports on 02/12/2019

Print Headline: Missouri event highlights benefits, habits of vultures

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