Sunday, April 20, 2014

Barbecue Guest

     Spring decided to come back, after it being almost 80 a week ago, then snowing 2 days later, the temperature was just right for eating outside. We were visiting our family and spending time at my in-laws home in Rockland County, NY. On the grill were veggie burgers and some hotdogs. My in laws are vegan, and most of what we eat is very vegetable-based, which is okay with me as I am mostly vegetarian myself. While eating and kids playing amongst us all, a black vulture landed on the roof. Little did he know it was mostly vegetarian, it would have really just be a huge letdown if we even had any leftovers! He was very cool for the kids to observe and once he flew off, the nieces and nephews began flying around the yard like birds. Future bird nerds? Perhaps!
This stance is very "Game of Thrones." It was sunset, so lighting was not on my side... literally. 
Black Vultures have been moving up into NY recently, usually it was predominantly Turkey Vultures in NY, this Southern species has been expanding their range Northward.
Vultures tend to have a negative attachment with them - but they are incredibly important to the ecosystem. They are nature's sanitation department, eating dead animals, playing the role of scavenger.
Their bald head is that way for a reason- as they eat decaying carcasses, their bald head free of feathers, will not harbor bacteria and other nasties that may be picked up when eating their delicious meals.

Vultures are easily ID'd in flight as they soar almost exclusively on warm columns of air in the atmosphere called thermals. That's why they circle, allowing the warm air to carry them upward. Their wings are held in a "V-shape" while hawks and eagles hold their wings flat when soaring.

He found out we only had veggie burgers... my nephew did give an out loud "awesome." When he saw this very ninja-esque pose at take-off. Super cute. 
Unlike hawks and eagles- this bird does not need sharp talons and strong feet - the main killing tools of most raptors - so just regular "chicken legs" for this guy- cute vulture legs, none the less!