• Black Vulture

    Common NameBlack Vulture
    Scientific NameCoragyps atratus
    Type of ReportOut-of-Season
    Date of Observation12/18/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed2
    Reporting Observer's NameKyle Jones
    Mailing Address230 South Windsor St
    South Royalton, VT 05068
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed12/20/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    Katie Reilley
    Jerry Reilley (Jery's photos attached)
    Tii McLane

    Latitude of Observation43.994017
    Longitude of Observation-73.175401
    Place NameMiddlebury Compost Area
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day08:40 AM
    Length of Time ObservedOfff and on for 1/2 hour
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)100
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)75
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions


    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    7x bins an dpoint and shoot camera

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    I grew up with turkey (mostly) and black vultures. Black vultures were special enough that I always cheked for them and enjoyed finding them. Well, okay, not always, but perhaps from age 12 on. I have seen a single black vulture previouly in Vermont, and almost had a collision on I-89 stopping to get a picture of it. These were easier.

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Compost piles and hardwood forest

    Behaviors Observed

    Perched on compost, then flew into trees and stayed.

    Description of Vocalizations


    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    Tii and I walked up to the compost piles and saw crows and black vultures perched on top. After I took a couple of photographs the vultures flew into nearby hardwood trees where they stayed for the duration of our visit. The Reilleys came as Tii and I were skirting around the birds so as not to flush them, and independently located, identified, and photographed the vultures.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Larger than crows.


    Featherless dark gray heads.

    Feet & Bill

    Long yellowish-gray legs.

    Upper Back


    Lower Back & Rump



    Black with characteristic whitish primaries when viewed from underneath (in flight only).

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts



    Black. Short compared to Turkey Vulture tail length.

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    These were clearly vultures--big wrinkled skin headed birds sitting on compost piles. When they flew, the realtively short tails and white under primaries were conspicuous, seprating them from Turkey Vultures or Black Spanish Turkeys.

    Other Notes & Comments

    I am not aware of a way to age or sex black vultures in the field.

    Jerry Reilley's photos are included in this documentation. My photographs are in the eBird checklist.

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory

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