06 November 2008

Vultures during lunch break


I photographed these vultures during an after-lunch walk about a week ago near College park, Maryland. When I first saw them circling in the air, I thought there was probably a dead animal nearby that had attracted them. They were near the railroad tracks and so my initial guess was that there was perhaps a dear hit by a train. But a quick look up and down the tracks did not reveal anything resembling a carcass. Nor were there any vultures along the tracks.

Eventually, the birds perched on a pipe of the nearby defunct factory. This was the closest I could get with the small digital camera I had with me.


They are either black vultures (Coragyps atratus) or juvenile turkey vultures (Cathartes aura). I understand the 2 species can be distinguished from their wing patterns seen from below. If I see them again I will try to photograph them flying.


Neil said...

I'd say they're black vultures, based on the short tail on the left bird in the top photo and the very dark heads.

Neil said...

or should I say, black condors!

(which just happens to be the name of my new band...)