Normally around Indiana we see Turkey Vultures, but have you ever seen a black vulture?

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Black Vultures

Typically when we think of vultures we think of the red-headed turkey vulture, and that's because they are more commonly found in this region, and turkey vultures outnumber black vultures.  According to AllAboutBirds.org it is not uncommon to find black vultures hanging out around turkey vultures:

The two species often associate: the Black Vulture makes up for its poor sense of smell by following Turkey Vultures to carcasses. Highly social birds with fierce family loyalty, Black Vultures share food with relatives, feeding young for months after they’ve fledged.

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Black Vultures in Indiana

I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw two photos of a black vulture that caught my eye.  The photos were taken by John Tzemas in Summit Lake State Park.  I thought the photos were stunning captures of this often misunderstood bird (the photos John took are credited to John).

John Tzemas
Photo by John Tzemas
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Black vultures are more commonly found in the southern and eastern parts of the United States, including southern Indiana, but they aren't very commonly found in the northern parts of the state, though it isn't unheard of though to spot them further north.  I personally have never seen one in the wild (at least that I've realized) but they are quite the cool-looking bird!  I mean just look at those gorgeous black feathers!

 

Vultures Oftentimes Get a Bad Rap

Whether we are talking about black vultures or turkey vultures, there is no denying that vultures don't have the best reputation.  Vultures are an essential part of nature's cleanup crew since they are scavengers.  Black vultures are primarily scavengers but have been known to eat small animals or fish at times when food is scarce, for this reason, the black vulture has been subject to some pretty bad PR in recent years. In fact, I highly recommend reading this great article from Eagles.org about the many reasons we should help protect our native vultures.

Photo by John Tzemas
Photo by John Tzemas
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According to Eagles.org there are several non-lethal options that you can use to deter black vultures if you spot them in your area and are worried about the safety of your animals. You can read more about those options, and learn about vultures, here. 

A big thank you to John Tzemas for allowing me to share these photos! John is a big proponent of humane deterrents for black vultures and shared some very helpful resources with me for this article.

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