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Monday, May 25, 2009

Black Vulture - Bird Photography Weekly #39

  For many of us, vultures are a common site along the edges of our roadways. Their not the most exciting bird to watch, must less photo, but they do have their place. I like to think of them as natures garbage disposals. This particular one was sitting along the edge of a field and remained there while I slowed my truck down to snap off a photo.

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This is a Black Vulture. Black Vultures are often seen in groups, that's why I was a little surprised to see this one sitting all alone. I'm guessing that his friends weren't far behind.

The Black Vulture is a scavenger that feeds on carrion. I've read that they will also eat eggs and kill newborn animals if left unprotected. It finds its food by using its keen eyesight.

The Turkey Vulture is another comm0n vulture in our area. Both vultures are fairly easy to tell apart except in flight. In flight they both look similar except for a few small differences. Slight color variations in their wing and tail feathers are the giveaway.

Vultures

This above silhouette guide was published by the NorthEast Hawk Watch (NEHW). As you can see, slight differences in feather color, size and the way they fly can help to tell them apart.

Check out more bird photos over at Bird Photography Weekly #39.

Have a great week!

 

16 comments:

Kallen305 said...

Great shot of the Vulture Alan, It is hard to pick up that detail you did on black birds but you did it great! Such fascinating birds.

Kelly said...

...I love vultures. Around Cincy we see mostly Turkey Vultures, but earlier this year I did get to see my first Black Vulture at Clifty Falls, Indiana. Great shot!!

Janet said...

Wish I had my camera a few weeks ago driving down Rt. 64 to ballet. Near the Hampton landfill there is a dead tree along the highway. Sitting in that tree had to be a couple dozen vultures....all of them had their wings open (like the eagle on money) I guess they were sunning their wings, but boy, what an odd sight!

mick said...

Great photos of an interesting bird. That's one we don't have out here in Australia.

April Lorier said...

Wow! I love the tail on the Turkey Vulture! Way more attractive than the other one. Of course, not a bird I'd pick for a pet!

Arija said...

He is not really a preposessing looker, but kind of cute the way he resembles a thought ful parson.
Delightful shot and good information.

Amy said...

Interesting post, Alan. On the Illinois listserv earlier this month there was a report of a Black Vulture up in the northern part of the state that caused a bit of controversy (because we are out of their normal range). Black Vultures remind me of vacation because I've only ever seen them when on holiday in Florida! I always love watching them fly in the thermals.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Just like Amy, we have only seen these birds when we visited Florida last April. It was quite creepy when one of them watched our every move as he sat on top of a tree (but we enjoyed every moment of it).

Your photo reminded us of that experience. thanks for sharing.

Darla said...

UGLY!!!

Alan said...

Are you calling me ugly Darla??

Kyle said...

Great BPW post, Alan! We also have an abundance of both Black and Turkey Vultures down here in the Houston area, and it is often hard to ID them when they are soaring high overhead (especially on a hazy day). I know the underwing markings well, but hadn't ever noticed the big difference in the size of their tails -- I'll have to watch for that in the future. Thanks for including that wonderful comparative illustration!

Neil said...

Great photos.

DaveABirding said...

The raptor rehabbing center where I have volunteered has an educational T.V. who is really quite social. He lives with the Red-tails and would always follow the people around when we cleaned the cages. Cool birds - if you can get past the carrion. Nice shot of the B.V.

Larry Jordan said...

Great capture of the Black Vulture Alan! We have only Turkey Vultures here in Northern California, but we have plenty of them.

Vultures carry out such an important task of keeping the environment clean we need to make sure they remain a vibrant species.

gwendolen said...

I don't know the Black Vulture, it looks like quite a striking bird. I've only seen European and African vultures. I love to see them soar and circle in the air. Such a majestic sight.

Squirrel said...

Great capture of such an underestimated and under appreciated bird!