Living in the woods by a former mining strip pit, my backyard is a wildlife haven, packed with raccoons, deer, rabbits, and tons of birds. When I first moved from Kentucky, those big black birds with red heads circling above were a new sight. Turkey vultures - or turkey buzzards as some call them are quite the sight to behold. They're huge, sluggish, and take off like a semi-truck – slow and steady. So, if you see one eating something in the road, slow down if you don't want a big bird plastered across your windshield.

I used to be a bit freaked out by them, wondering if they'd snatch up my little dog or cat for dinner. But turns out, they're not into the living; they're all about the dead.

I've even heard that turkey vultures will kill infant livestock. Turkey vultures, despite the rumors, aren't the villains they're made out to be. It's the black vultures, newcomers from South America, that pose any threat. Turkey vultures just stick to scavenging. And funnily (or grossly) enough, they're key players in the Ohio River Valley ecosystem. Here's the lowdown on these misunderstood birds.

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10 Kind of Disgusting Facts About Turkey Vultures

A long misunderstood bird, turkey vultures are kind of disgusting but are absolutely necessary to our ecosystem and life here on earth.

Gallery Credit: Ashley Sollars