Monday, May 26, 2014
Black Vultures - Day 15
The black vulture family in our barn now has teenagers. They are displaying lots of attitude when I look in on them now. The adult birds both care for the young and since they cannot be differentiated by appearance* I will call them parents. They now stand by unperturbed by my presence, maybe even a little proud. When one was sitting in the window opening by which it comes in and out, you can see that it watched me from six feet away, looking over its shoulder occasionally to check the chicks in the barn.
Vultures have no voice box so their vocalization is by an open throat hiss. In this video you can hear the chicks telling me to stay away. If you wondered how something so little could make so much sound, notice its body as it inhales and then strains, vigorously pushing the air through its throat.
Visitors are always expecting a stench - after all they are vultures. In actual fact I have never noticed an odor in their nesting area in four years. I use the term area rather than nest as they just lay their eggs on the bare ground. Over their brooding period the eggs may be moved around in a three foot circle.
Soon our little teenagers will grow into an awkward phase of adolescence. Coming soon to a blog near you.
* Sexual dimorphism is the term of describing the obvious differences between the male and female of the species. Vultures lack these but have no apparent problem finding mates, so apparently they know the difference.