The first time I saw a Black Vulture was on Florida’s Atlantic Coast on the way to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to see my nemesis bird, the Painted Bunting.
The Black Vulture is common in southeastern United States, where they can be found year-round.
I’ve seen them in southern Ohio in the past few years, but it’s a rare find for a Black Vulture to be found in Michigan.
Which was why birders were excited to find a Black Vulture this past week in Washtenaw County, where it stopped near a conservation area.
After doing some research, I learned Black Vultures are smaller than our native Turkey Vultures (which I see every month in Michigan). The short stocky black bird has a bare head, large bill, and short tail.
They live in social groups and lay their eggs on the ground in bare areas; they don’t build nests.
Unlike Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures don’t have a good sense of smell. The two types of vultures do associate with each other, so when a Turkey Vulture finds a carcass, the Black Vulture follows them.