Celebrating Vulture Week, part 5

Photo by Chris Bosak Black vultures sit on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Black vultures sit on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Here is the final photo in my celebration of Vulture Week, a week I totally made up because I had some vulture photos to share. This is a pair of black vultures, which are becoming more common in New England.

Final vulture fun fact: Vultures do not circle their prey, a misconception reinforced by so many Western movies. They do circle, but they do that whether there is prey below or not. If they find prey, they get to it quickly.

As a bonus, check out the Reader Submitted Photos page for a new photo of a soaring turkey vulture.

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Celebrating Vulture Week, part IV

Photo by Chris Bosak  Vultures sit on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Vultures sit on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Here’s a young turkey vulture with a wood chip in its mouth (for whatever reason) as a bunch of black vultures gather behind.

Fun vulture fact of the day: A “bunch” is not really what a group of vultures is called. Here are the real terms: “A group of vultures is called a kettle, committee or wake. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee refers to vultures resting on the ground or in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures that are feeding.”

Taken from Wikipedia, so it can’t be wrong. Right?

Celebrating vulture week, part III

Photo by Chris Bosak  Black and turkey vulture sit on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Black and turkey vultures sit on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Here’s a look at both the black and turkey vultures together. In this shot anyway, the black vultures far outnumber the turkey vultures.

Vulture fact of the day: Turkey vultures have a much more keen sense of smell than black vultures. That’s probably why black vultures like to hang around with turkey vultures.

Celebrating vulture week, part II

Photo by Chris Bosak  A black vulture sits on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A black vulture sits on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Yesterday was the turkey vulture, today is the black vulture. From a distance they look pretty similar, but closer inspection reveals some differences — the most obvious being the color of the head. Black vultures are also a bit smaller.

Vulture fact of the day: Vultures have excellent sight and smell and can find a dead animal from as far as a mile away.

Kicking off Vulture Week

Photo by Chris Bosak  A turkey vulture sits on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A turkey vulture sits on a hill in Danbury, Conn., fall 2017.

It’s Vulture Week — a totally made-up celebration concocted by http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com — so this week I’ll post photos of New England’s vultures and include some facts and/or stories about these birds.

There are two kinds of vultures in New England: turkey vulture and black vulture. Turkey vultures are one of New England’s largest birds with a wingspan of 67 inches (about 5 and a half feet). Black vultures, which are becoming more common in New England, are slightly smaller with a wing span of 60 inches. (Other wing spans: bald eagle, 80 inches; great blue heron, 72 inches; red-tailed hawk, 49 inches, American robin 17 inches; black-capped chickadee, 8 inches.)

More tomorrow …

For the Birds: Brown creeper highlights the fall

Here is the latest For the Birds column, which runs in several New England newspapers.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Brown Creeper finds food at the base of a tree during a cold snap in February 2016, Danbury, Connecticut.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Brown Creeper finds food at the base of a tree during a cold snap in February 2016, Danbury, Connecticut.

The fall migration is miraculous when you consider the thousands of miles birds fly from their breeding grounds to their winter havens. It’s also miraculous in its ability to stir excitement into the hearts and bones of otherwise completely normal adult human beings.

Well, “completely normal” may be pushing it with some birders I’ve come across, but you know what I mean.

Take the other day for instance. I was relaxing on the patio toward the end of a long day when a sight literally lifted me off my seat and drew me closer.

Bald eagle? Brown pelican? Some sort of rare bird not seen in generations?

No, it was a brown creeper. Brown creepers are just as their name suggests they are. For one, they are indeed brown. For another, they creep. They creep up trees looking for insects hidden among the bark. When they reach a point where they think they’ve exhausted a tree’s food supply, they fly quickly to the bottom of the nearest tree and start the creeping all over again.

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Protect habitat: CT Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp available

 

2017 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, featuring canvasbacks on the Thames River and painted by Mark Thone.

2017 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, featuring canvasbacks on the Thames River and painted by Mark Thone.

Here’s a press release from Connecticut DEEP:

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced today that Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamps can now be bought through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System (www.ct.gov/deep/SportsmenLicensing) by individuals interested in supporting the conservation and purchase of wetland habitats in Connecticut. Migratory bird hunters are required to purchase a Connecticut stamp to participate in migratory bird hunting seasons. However, other licensed hunters (who participate in other hunting seasons), licensed anglers, and Connecticut residents are encouraged to purchase a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp to provide much needed funding to conserve wetland habitat, thus benefitting a myriad of native fish and wildlife.

“The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Program is a great example of how conservation works – concerned citizens paying into a program that Continue reading