Monday, August 22, 2011

Black Vultures Fledge!

Last day at home- Click to enlarge
For those of you who have been following the series on the Black Vulture chicks growing up in our barn, they are now coming to a sky near you.  I took these pictures on August 15th, 56 days after they hatched.

The egg discovery was covered in a May blog and their hatching in the June 20th entry.  They had grown up considerably since they were fuzzy little - well medium sized - balls of fluff.

Video Outake
As you can see now their fluff was falling off by the handfuls.  They walked around the stall paying attention to me only if I stepped in to get better pictures.  By now they would only raise their wings but no longer bothered to hiss at me.

Two days later I was headed past the old barn when I noticed black birds in the open center portion  As I neared I saw two turkey vultures fly out the other end, then two black vultures.  They were followed by the smaller chicks, awkward in flight and flapping rapidly like ducks.  They were able to gain altitude across the field and clear the distant tree line.

The barn was built before 1900 and has seen its better days.  One day it will collapse, hopefully long after we are gone.  We have a picture of Christopher Columbus Meadows holding a beautiful horse beside it.  It has stored our equipment, housed our harvested gourds and dried the garlic from its rafters.

Barn Swallow
It also serves as a nursery.  Resident wood rats chew on gourds and the occasional garlic.  A ground hog has taken up residence beside it and undoubtedly has maternal instincts.  A colony of barn swallows annually raise chicks that peer over the nests at us as the parents swoop through, chattering their protests that it is their barn.

With all this history, I think our favorite memory will be raising black vultures.  We will always wonder which vultures circling the skies are "ours".

Note:  Some day this fall we will post a video combining their nursery days.


  1. How quickly they develop! How lucky for you to have been there all along! Looking forward to the video .

  2. There is more to the story today- they are back!