Avian Scavengers

Last week a friend told me about a road-killed deer in a field, visible and accessible from a secondary road. A mature bald eagle, crows, vultures and coyotes were feeding on the carcass at one time or another, so I visited the site hoping to capture some scavengers at work.

On the first trip, a dense fog limited visibility but the chatter of crows around the carcass gave me the approximate location.

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The next day was clear and bright and by mid morning the site was a chaotic scene of swirling vultures and noisy crows, about 10 birds in all.

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There was obviously a hierarchy among the vultures because some were forced off the carcass or to the fringe to wait their turn.

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There are nearly one million deer in New York state and large numbers of deer inhabit heavily populated areas, so deer-vehicle collisions are a routine occurrence. 70,000 to 80,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur annually (and that is just the number reported as insurance claims). Property damage averages several thousand dollars per incident.

Photos by NB Hunter. All Rights Reserved.

 

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4 thoughts on “Avian Scavengers

  1. Spectacular shoot! What an opportunity! I have loved vultures for a long time… cleansers of the earth. To me especially, they are a sign to “glide and soar” in life, leaving the carcass of troubles behind. 🙂

    • Well, we seem to have something in common that isn’t a mainstream interest. I’ve always been intrigued by opportunistic scavengers and the sequence of events that unfolds when a carcass appears. And then there’s my flight envy when I watch a huge bird soaring for miles with barely a wing beat!

  2. I seem to remember reading that some country (Africa? India?) was running into problems with disease because poison put out for coyotes (or some other critters) was also killing the vultures. I do wish my memory was a bit better on details. I can relate to that flight envy! 🙂

    • I don’t know the specifics on the case(s) you’re alluding to, but problems from poisons/toxins have plagued critters ever since we invented chemical applications as remedies for all that troubles us. Poison bait is a nasty, non-selective from of animal control. Thanks for the feedback Gunta.

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