27 February 2011

Vultures at lunch

During my after lunch walk last Friday, I interrupted the lunch of 2 black vultures. One flew away as soon it spotted me. But the other one, because it was either dauntless or stupid, stayed at the carcass and continued to peck at it. I kept approaching while taking pictures. Unfortunately, the only camera I had with me was my iPhone.

When I was within about 10 meters of the 2nd vulture, it too flew away. Then I walked over to the lunch spot and found out what was on the menu: a headless squirrel.

Black vultures apparently feed almost exclusively on carrion. This particular squirrel had no smell that I could smell from my height. It is amazing that the vultures had detected it.

1 comment:

Neil said...

Since you mention the smell (or lack thereof), I thought I would mention the literature that suggests that Black Vultures lack the keen sense of smell that Turkey Vultures have and rely primarily on visual cues (including Turkey Vulture activity) to locate their food.

(This based on a vague recollection of the work of Bang and Stager in the 1960s, and subsequent experimental and behavioral work.)