Monday, August 11, 2008

Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures

  These Black Vultures were on the roadside when I drove to the lake today.  I couldn't see what they were eating but they were there coming and going.
  Turkey vultures seem more common.  They have naked red heads, fly with a "V" silhouette and are bigger.  Black Vultures look like the sport model with shorter squared-off tails, a flatter flight profile and black skinned heads.  I think they flap more and soar less as well.
  Sixteen in this photo and more in the trees.  My impression is that both species are getting more common.  Cell phone towers always seem to have a couple sitting on them.  Those towers are just about the right height for a rest between patrols and they are higher than songbirds will fly so they aren't mobbed by Mockingbirds.  Brand new artifact and event in the history of soaring birds, having rest stops all over the country.
  I've seen both variants in town, on the street, eating mashed squirrels.  New day for everyone, though I get the feeling that I am the only person who goes outside anymore.
  Both birds Federally Protected and have strict interpretation of their Civil Rights.  They can't be hassled coming or going, can't be disturbed, their homes can't be invaded, they don't carry any ID, can't be taxed, counted or regulated.  They eat whatever they want and can do as they please.  Harm or kill one and it's a heavy Federal fine and/or jail term.
  Pretty neat deal...for them.

  Update: Sixteen on the ground in this shot and another half dozen in the trees.  I looked carefully this morning and there was one very trampled Armadillo flattened in the ditch.  Armadillo must be pretty good, rancid.  Four in attendance.  All Black Vultures again.  They WALKED away when I stopped the truck.

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