Friday, August 31, 2012

The Clean Up Crew

I know Vultures are not considered by most to be very attractive or desirable species to encounter, but, I'll admit, I find these scavengers to be quite interesting. I will say Vultures are definitely not a species I seek out to observe, but I find do quite regularly  see these birds in my everyday travels. Most of these photos were taken last week at Kelly Park in Merritt Island. There are two species of vultures that reside here in Florida, the Turkey Vulture and the Black Vulture.

Black Vulture

Black Vultures are, you guessed it, large, solid black birds with wrinkled, featherless heads.

Juvenile Black Vulture

Juvenile Black Vultures are a touch more pleasing to view as their heads sport a fuzzy, peach fuzz appearance.

Juvenile Black Vulture

 Turkey Vultures are easy to distinguish from Black Vultures as they have bright red, wrinkley heads. Black Vultures also have shorter wings and tails than Turkey Vultures.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey and Black Vultures can be frequently seen soaring the skies in their quest to find a meal. Both vultures feed primarily on the carcasses of dead animals and fish.


 It always amazes me how quickly a large group of them will arrive after the unfortunate demise of a poor critter. For Turkey Vultures this is thanks to their keen sense of smell. Black Vultures utilize vision to a greater extent than Turkey Vultures to locate food.  Black Vultures are the more social of the two species and tend to stick together in larger flocks. On this day there were a handful of Black Vultures and only one Turkey Vulture, but the Turkey Vulture definitely seemed to be dominating the small dead fish they were all gathered around.


Fresh fish is definitely not a requirement of these birds!

38 comments:

  1. Buenas tomas de estos Buitres.Saludos

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  2. FANTASTIC close-ups! i think these birds are fascinating! :)

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  3. Wow. That first picture of the Turkey Vulture with the fish head is one of the best shots Ive seen of one. Good on ya.

    I had no idea about Black Vulture peach fuzz either. Cool post!

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  4. Hi Tammy! .. I was lucky enough to see black vulture in Colombia .. I really liked their bright plumage .. The photos are fantastic .. Greetings from Madrid

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  5. Super shots Tammy, luckily they realised you were alive or you may have been next. Great close ups.

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  6. Hi Tammy !
    Brilliant shots, clear, sharp and well composed.
    I suppose the Isaak did not hit you seriously ?
    Have a nice weekend !

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  7. Great photos of great birds Tammy! Without Vultures or other scavengers we would be left with a lot of rather smelly rotting flesh everywhere!
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  8. Wow, I had never seen such a fuzzy vulture before- almost cute.

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  9. They are all great, and I love the close-up!

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  10. Nice work Tammy! Great close-ups, and nice to see them in their element too (eating dead rotting filth).

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  11. Wow!!! Those are in a word... Fantastic!

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  12. I personally love these birds....see them everywhere I go but I'm always fascinated by them. Ugly...definitely but they are fun to watch. And the Turkey Vulture flies so elegantly. I can't believe how close you got to these guys. Black vultures are easier than the Turkey Vultures to get on camera for me. Really nice shots!

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  13. They are majestic when they fly and look lovely in these photos. You can make even the ugliest bird look beautiful, Tammy.
    Nicely done ~:)

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  14. I actually enjoy watching vultures and photographing them if I have the opportunity. I've never been able to get photos like these, though. Fantastic close up shots! Really nice detail and catch light!

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  15. I love Vultures, we don't have them here. Your photos are marvelous.

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  16. Hi Tammy!
    Stunning photos of a lovely bird.
    Greetings from Sweden
    /Ingemar

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  17. Excellent shots Tammy.....good work again.

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  18. I've only seen vultures from far away and LOVE your close-up shots! I can see how these birds have worked their way into the imagery of novels and movies, they are awesomely creepy and dark :)

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  19. Magnificas fotos de estos buitres Tammy.Un fuerte abrazo.

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  20. If anyone can make vultures look beautiful, Tammy, you can! Lovely photography!

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  21. Wonderful post about vultures Tammy, they are great at what they do.

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  22. Despues de un tiempo desconestado de los blogs, regreso poco a poco, muy bonitos los momentos captados en estas ultimas fotos.

    Saludos.

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  23. Despues de un tiempo desconestado de los blogs, regreso poco a poco, muy bonitos los momentos captados en estas ultimas fotos.

    Saludos.

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  24. A great post Tammy... superb images.

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  25. you're right Tammy are not the most beautiful but have their own charm. Also perfect in their "ugliness". They inspire me respect. Your pictures are awesome.

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  26. Amiga Tammy, he estado de vacaciones en Venezuela y he visto a estos buitres allí llamados zamuros, no he tenido la suerte de poder fotografiarlos bien, así que me ha alegrado muchísimo ver tus fotos.
    Saludos!!

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  27. I have to admit that I also am a little bit fascinated with turkey vultures...have not seen a black one before....they are the clean up crew for our area, wonderful how nature has a plan for everything. These are shots with some lovely detail Tammy....you must be invisible or something to get these close ups. cheers.

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  28. Hola Tammy aquí hay otro tipo de Buitre negro y otras tres especies más, no suelen gustar mucho a la gente de la calle y aveces no tienen buena fama pero no saben de la importancia de esta especie, dejaste unas buenas fotos y una muy buena entrada, saludos.

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  29. Hi Tammy..Very beautiful images...Thanks for sharing...HUgs

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  30. Hello Tammy,
    Very good shots!! It's great to see these special birds.
    Shot 2 and 3 are very beautiful.

    Many greetings,
    Marco

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  31. Fantastic photos!
    We don't have Vultures here.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Tammy.
    Mette

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  32. Bellissime fotografie....sinceri complimenti!

    Ciao
    Vito

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I greatly appreciate your comments!