Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures

Children - Non-Fiction
26 Pages
Reviewed on 05/19/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

For ten years, I served as the Communications Director at Earth Day Canada. I collaborated with environmental experts to develop guides and projects to empower schools, employee groups and community groups to address local environmental issues.

I love to observe nature and discover its secrets and its stories.

While researching Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, I gathered fascinating stories about new world and old world vultures, and the scientists who are working to conserve their populations. I am excited about sharing these stories in the near future.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ashley Tetzlaff for Readers' Favorite

Join avian parents as they seek to care for their young in Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor. Father Vulture warms and watches over the hatchlings while Mother Vulture braves the dangers of air, land, and sea to find food for her family. Will she be able to provide a meal or will everyone go hungry another day? Find out in this easy-to-read tale complete with color photographs. Activities at the end of the book help cement fun facts about turkey vultures in young minds. Written for 3rd to 5th graders, this book would be interesting to much younger children as well.

Growing up in the Texas ranch lands, I saw turkey vultures often enough but always thought of them with disgust. (They eat dead things!) Debra Toor’s book, Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, gave me an interest in these birds that I never had before. Who knew that these fierce-looking birds have dull talons and thus are in danger from coyotes, or that they fly slowly and so are likely to be picked on by smaller, faster birds? I found myself admiring these carrion cleaners by the end of the book. I would highly recommend it as a side read to your regular biology textbook or for your avid avian advocate! The games at the end are a good way to review and remember what you have read. I really appreciated all the illustrations: there was at least one per page, if not more. This made the reading go quickly (a plus for younger readers) and helped the story come alive. Very well done!

Jack Magnus

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures is an educational book for children written by Debra Toor. The author presents a story about a turkey vulture family to illustrate how these birds care for their young and gather food. Turkey vultures can be found from up north in Canada down into South America. The vultures in Toor's story are nesting in the Catskill Mountains, in a cliff side cave. While the mother is out looking for food, the father covers the baby chicks with his wings to keep them warm. The mother soars out on wind currents, which are called thermals, and looks for dead animals down below. She can smell a gas which is present in dead bodies. Turkey vultures do not hunt live prey and will only feed on the dead. They have acids in their stomachs that destroy bacteria, so the meat they eat doesn't harm them. The mother vulture stores the food she's gathered in her crop to feed her young when she returns to the nest.

Debra Toor's educational eco book, Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, highlights this unusual bird whose feeding patterns actually benefit the environment. The pictures she's selected are the perfect accompaniment for her story about the mother vulture. Toor adroitly blends the mother vulture's tale with a concise, almost encyclopedic description of Turkey Vultures that will have readers looking at these magnificent birds in a whole new way. I loved the pictures she selected for her book and appreciated the uncommon facts she presents during and after the mother vulture's story. The games and puzzles that conclude the book look like a lot of fun as well as having educational value. Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures tells a story about a much-maligned bird that performs an essential environmental function. It's filled with details that will be new to most birders as well as to the author's target audience. It's highly recommended.

Roy T. James

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is a concise, short introduction to a bird of prey that is the most widespread of the New World vultures, popular in North America. Illustrated with lovely photographs showing many of the peculiar and memorable aspects of this bird, the guide covers the varied features of turkey vultures, like brooding, feeding the chicks, flight characteristics, the techniques adopted to collect food, and the tricks used to keep enemies at bay. The ecological importance of these birds also finds special mention. Over and above all these details is the inclusion of important and helpful data in the form of tables and lists, making this into a ready reference.

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is a wonderful discourse on this bird and its habitat. The book introduces the vulture as a royal bird. Though written with children in mind, the author’s approach to the topic and its presentation, and the high quality artwork makes it suitable for all. A couple of exercises given at the end of the book, some of them having the potential to help bird watching enthusiasts, certainly add to its value, making learning easy and fun. Not to be left unmentioned, of course, is the ‘vulture’ crossword with which the book ends and completes its value as an all in one guide.

Julia Hopkinson

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is a non-fiction book for children aged 9 to 11. The book showcases the day to day life, habits, and skills of the Turkey Vulture – perhaps a creature that children will not have either heard of or know much about, being used to more ‘cuddly’ pets or farmyard animals in their books. The book starts in springtime in the Catskill Mountains, New York, and describes a family of Turkey Vultures, and the parents’ means of dealing with the elements and predators, and of finding food for their young. The descriptive passages are interspersed with colour photographs of the birds, variously showing them in flight, at rest, evading predators, feeding themselves, and feeding the cute, fluffy chicks. The book also includes a list of interesting facts about the birds and some games and puzzles so young readers can put their new knowledge to good use.

I found Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures a very interesting read. The Turkey Vulture is not a bird I really knew anything about before and, like most people, I didn’t think of vultures as warm or endearing. However, this book shows them to be majestic when flying, very family oriented when caring for their chicks – which themselves are unexpectedly sweet looking – and quite cautious and surprisingly vulnerable when hunting. The pictures really help bring the information to life, although the text itself could do with some formatting to make it look less like an academic essay and more ‘child-friendly.’ That said, I think children will enjoy Debra Toor’s book and the chance to learn something new.

Faridah Nassozi

As suggested by the title, Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is a non-fiction tale about turkey vultures and how they make it in life and all the risks and challenges they face endlessly. However, the book teaches about much more than just the survival of these birds; Debra Toor describes how these birds generally live and the functions they perform in keeping our ecosystem balanced and our environment safe and clean, among their other amazing qualities. With vivid pictures, the book describes their characteristics, family structure, survival, and all the other exciting details about their life. The book also includes fun exercises to help kids remember the knowledge acquired.

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures by Debra Toor is a fact-filled tale of the life of turkey vultures. It is a fun way for kids to learn about turkey vultures and their very important role in our ecosystem. The book also teaches kids about the love of family and the risks parents have to take sometimes so as to provide for their young. The breathtaking pictures of real life vultures bring the book to life, make it more interesting, and add even more excitement to the story of these amazing birds. After reading this book, kids will never see turkey vultures as just birds flying past high above; they will look at them in a different light - as actual living creatures with real life challenges and with an important role in our lives. There really is a lot to be learned from these amazing creatures and this book would be a worthy addition to your kids' library.