Saturday, September 22, 2012

Identify this object (bird!) answer

What is this thing that I asked you about in this entry? Here it is below once again.

As said, the tree is no help, but you should be able to see that this is a large bird in comparison to the cones and branches. It is obviously covered with black feathers. The location - Stratford's Boothe Park - is not applicable beyond the fact it is a coincidence that this is a hawk watch site. Does that help? Here it is...

Yep, that would be a Black Vulture! It and a few others decided to sit in spruce trees on the western edge of the site while we were tallying hawks last week. These are "local" birds that are resident in nearby areas, and we have frequently seen three or five hanging around. They are easy to pick out from migrants because of their behavior, flying low, searching for food, sitting in trees (obviously), and not appearing like they are on the move. Birds heading south fly high, from basically due northeast or east to west, southwest, or south, without breaking their flight. They keep their wings set, ride thermals to gain altitude, or soar through thousands of feet in the air. Migrant birds are trying to conserve every single bit of energy whereas others, like these, are not so concerned about it, making for an easy enough distinction in most cases.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch and not to be reproduced without explicit permission

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