They roam the dunes of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, eating dead animals.
And the National Park Service thanks them.
Turkey vultures have been spotted around the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the park posted Nov. 20.
“Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), like the dune buddies pictured here, perform a great service to the earth by removing carrion (dead animals) from the environment, along with all the bacteria and disease organisms the carrion might contain,” rangers wrote on Facebook.
The scavenger birds don’t have vocal cords, so they make grunting or hissing noises, according to the park service.
They are also known for relying on their “sophisticated sense of smell” as opposed to their eyesight like many other birds, park officials said.
Vultures’ acidic stomachs allow them to digest animal carcasses, according to All About Birds. They can even eat animals with diseases like rabies and tuberculosis without getting sick, which prevents those diseases from spreading.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is about 230 miles southeast of Raleigh.