Fall 2023


Nature's Cleanup Crew

From the Series Animal Scavengers in Action

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Using teamwork and keen eyesight, vultures soar thousands of feet above the ground in search of carrion to eat. Learn about the habits and life cycle of this iconic avian scavenger.

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Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 4
Genre Science
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Traditional Nonfiction, Animals
Copyright 2024
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Lerner Publications ™
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2023-08-01
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS JNF003030, JNF051150, JNF051100
Dewey 598.9/2
Dimensions 10 x 8
Lexile 950
Guided Reading Level R
Features Author/Illustrator note, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, and Sidebars

Author: Sandra Markle

Sandra Markle is the author of numerous award-winning books for children. A former elementary science teacher, she is a nationally-known science education consultant. Markle has received many honors for her series Animal Predators, Animal Scavengers, and Animal Prey. Several titles have been named as National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)/Children’s Book Council (CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, and Animal Predators was honored as a Top 10 Youth Nonfiction Series by Booklist. Markle is also the author of the Insect World series and several single titles. Her book Rescues! was named a Best Book by the Society of School Librarians International and a Recommended Title of Outstanding Nonfiction by the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award committee; Animal Heroes was named a 2008 Lasting Connections title by Book Links. Markle lives in Lakewood Ranch, Florida with her husband, photographer Skip Jeffery.


Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

In this chapter of the illustrated “Nature’s Cleanup Crew” series readers will learn about vultures, how they survive, what their typical behaviors are, and how these fascinating creatures assist in maintaining nature’s balance. The primary focus of the text is on white-backed vultures, a species that lives throughout Africa south of the Sahara Desert. White-backed vultures feed on carrion and have eyesight so powerful that they can see a carcass while circling more than 5,000 feet in the air. With a wingspan of more than seven feet, vultures are a substantial bird. Despite being equipped with a powerful beak, vultures are reliant upon other animals such as hyenas or jackals to bite open the often thick-skinned carcasses they search for. Once a feeding frenzy has begun, vultures follow a sort of pecking order at a carcass so that injuries and disputes do not occur. Dedicated parents, vultures mate for life and typically care for one offspring per year. Vultures can eat over 10% of their body weight at a single feeding. After eating this much meat at one setting, vultures have to rest and digest in order to even take off from the ground again.

Fulfilling a vital cleanup role in nature, vultures are highly effective at their work and in so doing they eliminate decaying matter that could cause disease. Challenged by climate change, environmental disruption, and human incursions into their territories, vultures continue to carry out their life’s task of helping to keep the natural order clean and neat. These birds are thoughtfully presented in this nature study with the ample color photographs that are included and which vividly show them in action. Readers interested in nature will enjoy and profit from this book as well as the other titles in the series.