Use this sheet to help you as you discuss April Pulley Sayre's books: Vulture View and Trout Are Made of Trees.
What do you observe about how the turkey vultures look? What are their physical traits?
They look like large birds with big wingspans. They have black and grey feathers. Their heads are red with very few feathers.
Why do you think their heads have very few feathers on them?
Answers may vary and encourage students to explain their answers. Scientists believe that turkey vultures' heads are almost featherless because of what they eat. Feathers would be hard to clean after the head has been in a messy carcass!
After reading page 6 ("Up, up! Turkey vultures tilt, soar, scan to find the food that vultures can...eat!), ask, What kinds of things do you think turkey vultures might eat?
Again, encourage students to brainstorm about what they think the vultures might eat before going through the next pages. You could perhaps make a list on your blackboard or a large sheet of paper.
Are the turkey vultures attracted to the snake, fox, or bear?
What about the animal pictured next? Is it alive or dead?
It is dead.
Are the turkey vultures attracted to flowers or spicy smoke?
What about the stinky dead deer?
Why do you think turkey vultures like to eat dead animals? Do you think that by eating dead animals, turkey vultures are playing a part in the food chain? If so, what is their role?
Students' answers may vary but encourage them to explain their answers. In general, scientists believe that turkey vultures eat dead animals, or carrion, because they are not suited to hunting and killing animals due to their weak claws. By eating carrion, turkey vultures are consumers who help clean up the environment and prevent the spread of diseases. They are scavengers.
What do you think the author means by saying that, "Trout are made of trees"?
Accept all student answers at this point and allow students to brainstorm their ideas.
What happens to the leaves after they fall from the trees?
They fall in the streams and are carried away by the rushing water.
What happens to the leaves if they get caught on something in the water?
They settle down and can be homes for algae. Shredders (or consumers), like crane flies, caddisflies, shrimp, and stoneflies, also move in and eat the leaves.
What happens to these shredders?
They are caught and eaten by predators such as bigger bugs and fish.
The trout may eat the bugs and minnows, but do some other living things eat the trout?
Yes. Trout are eaten by predators like bears and people.