Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Black Vulture’

What kind of bird would be a perfect match for a gloomy, fog-filled day? I might suggest that this Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) that I spotted this past weekend at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge would fit the bill admirably.

There was something shadowy, mysterious, and a little creepy about this large dark bird as it perched low in a tree and looked right at me through the fog. I felt a little shiver as I looked up at the vulture, but maybe it was just reaction to the cool temperature.

Black Vulture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Peering through the vegetation at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge this past Monday, I spotted several large birds at the edge of the water. I thought they might be eagles or ospreys, but they turned out to be Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) that appeared to be foraging as the tide was going out.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I rounded the corner of one of the remote trails yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park, I stopped abruptly—a large black bird was perched low in a tree almost directly in front of me. At first I thought it might be a wild turkey, but it turned out to be a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus).

Most of the vultures that I see are Turkey Vultures, which have red heads, and generally I see them soaring high in the sky. When this vulture became aware of my presence, it flew to a nearby tree and looked down at me. I tried not to feel paranoid, but it looked almost like it was going to dive bomb me. The vulture perched in one more tree before finally flying away.Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

My eyes are unavoidably drawn to large birds in the sky. For me, it doesn’t really matter if it is a hawk, an osprey, or an eagle or, in this case, “only” a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) that I saw last week at Huntley Meadows Park. They are all impressive birds.

This bird was one of four Black Vultures that were circling overhead as I wandered through a remote area of my favorite marshland park. I love to watch these vultures as they soar through the sky searching for the scent of something dead to eat.

Where I live, we have both Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures. Most of the time, they are easy to tell apart, because the white patterns on the wings are different and their heads have different colors. As you can see in the photos, the Black Vulture has a black head, whereas the Turkey Vulture has a red head.

When vultures are circling around me like this, I follow the advice that was given to me several years ago and make sure I move from time to time. I wouldn’t want one of the vultures to think that I was dead.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I know that vultures don’t really stalk live prey, but when this Black Vulture leaned forward from its perch on a dead tree, it sure looked like it was following something on the ground.

Most of the vultures that I see at my local marsh are Turkey Vultures, which have a distinctive red head, but occasionally I will also spot Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) like this one. I was in a remote area of the park searching for dragonflies when this vulture flew in my general direction and decided to perch for a while high on a nearby tree.

Initially the bird spent some time grooming itself, but then it assumed the pose that you see in this image. I tried to move closer to get a better shot and eventually I was almost underneath the tree. As I looked at my images on the computer, I initially thought that I might have photographed an immature Turkey Vulture, which also has a dark head, but I’m pretty sure this is a Black Vulture, because of its short tail.

When I was doing a little research on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, one of my favorite resources for birds, I learned that Black Vultures often hang out with Turkey Vultures to compensate for their weaker sense of smell. “To find food they soar high in the sky and keep an eye on the lower-soaring Turkey Vultures. When a Turkey Vulture’s nose detects the delicious aroma of decaying flesh and descends on a carcass, the Black Vulture follows close behind.”

In addition to its pose, I was struck by the dead-looking eyes of this vulture, which I can’t help but find a little creepy. I am not really paranoid, but somehow I am happy that it had not fixed those eyes on me.

Black Vulture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I was really struck by the unusual poses of these Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) that I encountered while walking along the canal path in Augusta, GA. The only other time that I saw Black Vultures in a tree, they were roosting and looked large and menacing.

These two vultures look like they have adopted a hawk’s approach to hunting by perching on a tree and waiting,  rather than by circling endlessly in the skies as other vultures do.

Vultures_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

The Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) needs to improve its public image and what could be better in these times of economic difficulty than emphasizing its energy efficiency?  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states that the Black Vulture “soars on thermals to gain altitude and to cover large distances with little energy expenditure.”

This past weekend we had warm weather and a breeze, which made it perfect for soaring. Normally I see Black Vultures very high in the sky and in groups, but this time I spotted a solitary vulture soaring at a a lower altitude, which permitted me to get some decent photos. The Cornell Lab notes that Black Vultures have a less well-developed sense of smell than Turkey Vultures and rely more on sight than smell to find carrion, which may be why they soar at greater heights than Turkey Vultures.

I propose that the Black Vulture become the new symbol for energy-saving practices. What do you think?

vulture1_blogvulture2_blogvulture3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »