King of the Dead

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Since our big Florida freeze, the black vultures have congregated here in amazing numbers.  This particular day I saw about 40 eating a hog. Today, in another area, I saw hundreds on the ground and more "kettleing” in the sky.  I know they do this annually in some areas, but I have never seen so many at once in one small area. Amazing.

Vultures are often thought of as disgusting and unclean. The truth is that without them, we would have a lot more dead animals everywhere.  They dispose of a carcass in record time, and leave little behind.  They have bald legs and faces to prevent parasites from jumping ship from the dead to them, and are intelligent, interesting birds. Some studies have suggested that they form large groups and have a communication system that employs a lookout and scouts, and even tackle large animals like newborn calves if the opportunity arrives.

One thought on “King of the Dead

  1. There is a NestCam streaming live video 24/7 for a black vulture pair up and running at
    http://www.chimneyswifts.net/tristate/

    Eggs were laid 2/20 and 2/23/12, two weeks earlier than last year. Parents are sharing incubation responsibilities with an affectionate nuzzle at the periodic changing of the guard. Fluffy-tan chicks are expected to hatch the last week of March.

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