Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lynne, this BIRD's for You!

Lynne, at Hasty Brook, has an almost unnatural fondness for vultures. She is always begging Susan for pictures of RAPTOR's resident Turkey Vulture, Earl. I don't know why she is attracted to a bird most of us think of as smelly, ugly and disgusting, but I'm glad she is. Someone needs to love the poor unlovable vulture. So, when I ran into a flock of Black Vultures in Florida last month, my first thought was "Lynne will LOVE these photos!"

My cousin Nancy and I (yes, she of American Bittern fame) were walking around the impoundments at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Preserve. We were surrounded by egrets, herons, and cranes. It was idyllic. Up ahead, I saw a flock of vultures on the ground.

I assumed they would fly away as we approached,
but they didn't.

We got closer. They didn't budge.

Black heads, white legs and short tails say Black Vulture.
I think the bird on the left is a juvenile, but I'm not sure.
Anybody want to weigh in with an opinion?

We got closer. One or two walked off, while the others casually strolled in front of us. This was weird.

Good grief! This is ridiculous.
Does nothing frighten these birds?

Finally, one flew. See the white wing tips? That is an important field mark when distinguishing between Black and Turkey Vultures.

Up ahead was an observation platform, and it, too had a resident population of Black Vultures.

One of them was bold enough to land on the railing two feet from me.
"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."

"Be sure to get my good side."

A face only a mother (and Lynne) could love.


Susan Gets Native said...

Well. YOUR vultures were a lot more cooperative than mine.
Maybe you stepped in something stinky and they liked it?

Kathy said...

Wonderful photos of birds earning the "most cooperative bird" award. Today I saw a mature bald eagle fly over my house at about 50 feet. I had never seen one in town before, so it was quite a thrill.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Maybe you had that OSU jacket on. tee hee sorry I couldn't resist that. Great pictures.

Mary said...

I can't help but laugh at vultures! That one standing on the railing looks like he's showing off his bermuda shorts.

Lynne will LOVE this. I'm curious as to why they are frightened, too. The only time I've been able to get near one is when it had a meal in front of him.

Lynne said...

Thanks for the fabulous vulture post KatDoc! (I'm late to the party having finished a long stretch of night shifts) I've seen plenty of TV's up here in Minnesota and there have been occasional Black Vulture sightings but I've never seen one. Your Black Vultures look like they're wearing puffy Elizabethan collars and that bumpy, warty black skin is just too cool! What's not to love?!
Thanks again for the special post and for not making me out to be too much of a nut for loving vultures.

Kathiesbirds said...

wow! I've never seen so many black vultures in one place at one time. I got excited to see just one in Patagonia, Az last year! What a great photo op!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Another true vulture fan weighs in. Thank you for the phabulous vulture foto safari. I agree with you about the dark-headed one, following the adult...maybe last year's baby. Gorgeous pictures. I like the Tupi (Brasilian Indian) name for them: urubu.
And zopilote has such a ring to it, too.