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So we came home, and this guy was perched on top of the porch roof, directly outside our bathroom window.

This is my roof now.

For those at home, this handsome fellow is a black vulture, a species endemic to the southern United States. They are gorgeous birds, and very common around here. (Thank god. Something’s got to clean up all those roadkilled deer.)

It is not, however, something you expect to find on the porch.

After a few minutes, while we stood and stared and went “Holy crap! There’s a black vulture on our roof!” he hopped over to the garage roof and walked up to the rooftree, where he is now sitting and preening. As I am in the studio typing this, we are separated by a lighting fixture and a couple of inches of insulation, drywall, and shingles. (Got the photo out the attic window.)

We’re fine as long as he’d just passing through. If we come out later and there are six of ‘em on the roof—black vultures live in small family flocks—we may have a problem. If we had ten or twenty acres, I would welcome them, but if they decide to take up residence in the yard, the clashes between vulture and beagle could prove detrimental to…well…everybody. (Dog charges, baying hysterically. Vulture freaks out and vomits on dog. Dog has to go to the vet for acid burns and dry cleaning. As dog Does Not Learn From Experiences, being a beagle, we would rinse and repeat until he either resembled the Phantom of the Opera or the vultures decided to leave, and I am given to understand that vultures hardly ever decide to leave.)

It’s still pretty damn awesome, though.

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.

LOL, acid burns? Not... as such. X)

*laugh* You're the expert! I always hear what awful stuff vulture vomit is--what would it REALLY be like?

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Vultures also like to pick at things. At the Oakland University in Michigan, they would pick out and eat the window seals. Not. Good.

If it's a family of vultures, and they decide to cause problems for the beagle, have you considered the joys of taxidermy? One for you, one for the museum, one for the local down-home-style hamburger joint...

I'm afraid it would be more legal to taxidermy the beagle than the vulture.

I'm serious.

So, just HOW long has Kevin been putting off his yearly physical/Dr. visit?

Perhaps the Vultures are trying to tell him something?

On the other hand, one would imagine that being stared at by a flock of vultures just MIGHT keep the average door-to-door sales-creature from your front steps. Enough of them might even keep your home free of infestation from proselytizing religious types of various persuasions.

"Enough of them might even keep your home free of infestation from proselytizing religious types of various persuasions."

They would be worth it, just for that!

What a great photo! i was out at my mom's today and saw a couple of turkey vultures perched atop a lightpost on the side of the road. As i was driving, i couldn't take any pics though, LOL. i had to console myself with taking pics of some fish crows having a feast in the Target parking lot next to my parking space.

He certainly is a handsome bird of ill-omen.

He's two days late for International Vulture Awareness Day. :D

He is stunning!

And I somehow find it oddly appropriate that you should have a vulture on your roof . . . 8-) And I couldn't help laughing over your speculations regarding vultures and the beagle because it reminded me of the Peanuts cartoons when Snoopy is pretending to be a vulture.

Speaking of birds, can you help with a bird ID? I saw one I didn't recognize a few weeks ago here in our yard. Saw him at my backyard feeder and he was about the size of a robin or mockingbird. Rounded head: no crest like you’d see on a cardinal. At first he was facing me and I could see a yellow spot on his throat and a creamy underside with short rusty brown streaks. When he turned his back he was barred gray and white---very similar to a mockingbird---but around the edges of the tail feathers he was bright blue, almost the colour of a bluejay. Any thoughts? I'm in the Central Alabama region, if that helps.


Re: He is stunning!

I'm gonna guess adult female eastern bluebird--if you google "female eastern bluebird" you should come up with a bunch of photos. If that's not it, I'm stumped!

Um, you guys are feeling alright, aren't you?

Black vultures are fabulous birds! they don't get anywhere near the respect they deserve. the hawk watch/count guys get a few of these in Ontario every year but I've yet to see one up here.

Am I seeing a whitish leg band on him/her?

It's just a loose skin wrinkle plus whitish vulture pee. New world vultures generally are not banded because of their tendency towards urohydrosis, which can damage the band. They get wing tagged instead (as with california condors). :)

That is awesome! Like the time the pileated woodpeckers were nesting in our back woods and came to the feeder kinda cool. And the dog... XD ...so funneh...

Your icon has me paralyzed with The Cute!

I now have the second verse of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" going through my head.

"And so, the bird to you transferred, I can no longer stay, sir..."

There's a roost of them in the park near my house. I'm quite fond of vultures and find their ability to soar on thermals with just ages between wingbeats to be amazing. On the ground, however, they are astoundingly ungraceful, and their attempts to perch in trees tends to resemble the flight of an open umbrella tied to a bowling ball. Don't be surprised if your guest breaks a few thing via a spectacular inability to judge what can bear its weight. Although your roof should be fine. Probably.

That description combined with the mental image of the umbrella vulture from Disney's Alice in Wonderland made for one of the most enjoyable image in a while.