International Vulture Awareness Day
Today is International Vulture Awareness Day. In honor of the day, Bob Gore has shared this photo of a group of Black Vultures. There are two types of vultures that you can see at Ivy Creek: Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures. Both are carrion feeders but Turkey Vultures have a keen sense of smell which Black Vultures lack. Black Vultures have grayish heads, are more social and can be recognized from below by the white at just the tips of their wings. Turkey Vultures adults will have a red head (hence their name), are more solitary and have white all along the bottom margins of their wings which can be seen when they fly. Both types of vultures have the habit, which I love to watch, of "sunning" themselves. Particularly in the early part of the morning, you can often find vultures perched with their large wingspans spread open. According to the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, this can be to dry off the morning dew from feathers; to warm their bodies for flight; or to help realign their feathers after flight. Whatever the reason, it is a majestic sight.