My camera surprised me

My camera is so powerful, sometimes I don’t even use my binoculars to see birds. I just ZOOOM in…
Today, Lorelei and I were out in the semi-boonies, at Rt. 50 and Rt. 222, and we saw big black birds in all the trees.
Vultures. In all the trees. I estimate about 100 of them. It. Was. So. Cool.
I couldn’t get far enough away to photograph all of them.

I can’t remember who thinks the turkey vulture is her totem…one of Laura’s friends? Well, tell her to come over to my blog and get her buzzard fix.
It was early morning, and they were sunning. That’s why Earl is so popular at programs. She will open those 6 foot wings whenever she is in the sun. Since they are black, the sun warms them quite nicely and they can go on with their day. And I assume that they get vitamin D, too.

As I said, sometimes I don’t use my binoculars to view birds. I didn’t even know I had a life bird until I came home and uploaded the pictures.
A black vulture.
See the difference? Turkey vultures have red heads and are larger.

I have seen them, but only as education birds (Hamilton County Parks has one named Curly) so I couldn’t count them. But now I can. Life bird number 112.
Lorelei was so cute. She is too young to think that they are gross or “evil harbingers of death”, so she was just in awe.
“Look at the bewds!”

12 Responses to “My camera surprised me”

  1. Mon@rch Says:

    How wonderful your camera helps you enjoy cool birds like this! Helps when they are so big in size also! Great shots!

  2. NatureWoman Says:

    Awesome Susan! Wow, 6 foot wings – that *must* be really cool to see. Congratulations on the new lifer!! Yay for you!
    “Look at the bewds!”
    That’s so cute!!

  3. Mary Says:

    I’m mad because Naturewoman copied and pasted my favorite line before me, “Look at the bewds!” LOL! Cute.

    Congrats! I wanna go on a bird hunt…

  4. LauraHinNJ Says:

    Blacks are cool too – they look pretty different from the underside – very silver!

    The vulture girl is my Pine Barrens friend Kathy.

  5. Susan Gets Native Says:

    Yeah, vultures are hard to miss. Especially when there are a blue million of them!

    6 feet…they are HUGE. IF Earl ever let me hold her, even without all the drama she causes, it’s hard to hold her for long, because she is so big and her wings are so wide, you have to hold her out from your body. My arms can’t take that for more than a minute or so.

    Come on over to lovely Ohio and we will go bird hunting!

    I wish I had known I was looking at a BV, to appreciate the silver wing linings. Tell your friend Kathy that she isn’t the only one who adores vultures.

  6. KatDoc Says:

    Susan: That spot (SR 50 and SR 222) is “famous” in local birding for its Black Vulture roost. At the Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 30, they counted 130-132 of them. I was there Jan. 1, specifically to pick up BV for my new list.

    I saw my Life Black Vultures in my back yard. This area is the northern most of their range. They are slightly smaller than Turkey Vultures, but more aggressive. They don’t have a good sense of smell, so they follow TV around to a carcass, then shove them aside to steal the meal.

    BV have to “flap” more than TV when they soar, so you can tell them by that. Also, they have shorter tails and white patches at their wingtips. Young TV have black heads instead of red, so the other clues help you sort out BV from young TV.

    Kewl bird!


  7. Susan Gets Native Says:

    Huh. I didn’t even know it was famous. And I found it all by myself. *proud like a five-year old*

  8. Dave Says:

    From the mouth of babe’s.

  9. Lynne at Hasty Brook Says:

    Too Kool!! I’ve never seen a black vulture, lucky you. I read some where that they use the sun’s UV rays to suppress the bacteria they pick up from eating carrion.
    (wish they had spell-check on the comment section!)

  10. Liza Lee Miller Says:

    Cool. They are impressive. I saw a roost of Turkey Vultures about three months ago. It was in the middle of a freeway (a tree-filled island) which I suppose is a good place for Vultures to hang out — plenty of roadkill. The vultures were sunning themselves as it was early morning and the light was just starting to hit them. It was very cool and there was no where to stop and get a picture. But, I have the memory!

  11. katdoc Says:


    I like Life Birds that you find or figure out by yourself. A Lifer that someone points out to you is fine, of course, but when you get it all by yourself, you realize you are really becoming a birder.

    When I saw my first BVs, I said, “Huh. There is something weird about the way that Turkey Vulture is flying.” And, I watched it and saw the different wing pattern and made mental notes, then went in to look it up. They were Black Vultures. Hurrah! New Life Bird, and I done figgered out all by my lonesome.

    So, pat yourself on your back all you want – these are the bonus birds.

    Congrats on #112! I’m proud of you!


    PS: 4 raptors along the roads today – 2 red-tailed on I-275, 1 Cooper’s Hawk and 1 American Kestrel (saw the same bird twice) on SR 133

  12. Julie Zickefoose Says:

    Love those pics! Way to go. Finding stuff yourself is ever the best.

    BTW the turkey vulture has been my totem bird since 1981. They come to me when I’m at a crossroads. I think I have another big ol’ turkey vulture story brewing in me-next book!

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