Friday, April 24, 2020

April 25, 2020 V is for Vulture!

2020 A to Z Challenge!
V is for Turkey Vulture
and Black Vulture! 

If you’ve gone looking for raptors on a clear day, your heart has probably leaped at the sight of a large, soaring bird in the distance– perhaps an eagle or osprey. But if it's soaring with its wings raised in a V and making wobbly circles, it's likely a Turkey Vulture. These birds ride thermals in the sky and use their keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They are a consummate scavenger, cleaning up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time, and never mussing a feather on their bald heads.    

The most common time to see a Turkey Vulture is while driving, so look along the sides of highways and in the sky over open countryside. When hiking or traveling in hilly or mountainous areas, keep your eyes peeled for vultures.  Sudden changes in topography allow for updrafts that the birds use 
to carry them into the sky.  

Black Vulture

With sooty black plumage, a bare black head, and neat white stars under the wingtips, Black Vultures are almost dapper. Whereas Turkey Vultures are lanky birds with teetering flight, Black Vultures are compact birds with broad wings, short tails, and powerful wingbeats. The two species often associate: the Black Vulture makes up for its poor sense of smell by following Turkey Vultures to carcasses. Highly social birds with fierce family loyalty, Black Vultures share food with relatives, feeding young for months after they’ve fledged.
In the U.S., Black Vultures are outnumbered 
by their red-headed relatives, Turkey Vultures, 
but they have a huge range 
and are the most numerous vulture in the 
Western Hemisphere.   

Keep your eyes to the skies on warm days for Black Vultures soaring high up on thermals. Their broad, forward-canted wings, small head, and short tail give them a distinctive silhouette even if you can’t see any color. They also have a distinctive flight style, giving a few deep, rapid wingbeats and then snapping their wings out wide a little like a baseball umpire signaling “Safe.” In the morning while the air is still cool, look for flocks perched in roost trees or structures, where you may see them spreading their wings to catch the sun. 
You may also spot these vultures gathering at roadkill or around dumpsters.
For more information about either of these vultures go here.
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see
you tomorrow!
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  1. They might not be very pretty up close, but I like vultures a lot :)

    The Multicolored Diary

  2. Not a bird I'm unlikely to encounter here. They look very business-like!

    V is for ...

  3. Vultures are pretty savage xD
    Such scavengers

  4. That's what we have here. Prettier flying than perched on roadkill.

  5. They serve a vital function and are probably one of the most commonly seen birds in movies lol

  6. Vultures, along with ants, are nature's vacuum cleaners, and i for one appreciate the work they do.

  7. Not a very pretty bird but most useful and an important part of the food chain. They actually need to be protected now !