Friday, September 14, 2012

Today's Mystery Bird


I took this shot at Oswingo Dam in Maryland yesterday.  Down below the dam is smorgasbord heaven for piscivores.  Fishermen line the shore.  Bald eagles soar overhead and occasionally deign to swoop like the wrath of God upon the Susquehanna and fly away with a glistening silvery fish in their talons.

So.  Care to guess what the above in-no-way-an-eagle bird is?

(Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Music here.  Tick.  Bing!)

No, it's not a crow nor is it a raven.  Look at that head.  You've got it -- it's a black vulture!

You didn't used to find black vultures in Maryland -- only turkey vultures.  But they've been moving north over the past decade.  This particular one was about twenty feet away from me and captured by a point-and-click at the extreme limits of its competence.

Black vultures are about two thirds the size of a bald eagle.  They can be identified by the white patches at the tips of the undersides of their wings (turkey vultures have white along the trailing edge of the undersides of their wings)and there are many dozens of them at Oswingo.  Along with an equal number of cormorants.  And, as I said, the occasional bald eagle.


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