I came around the corner of the house yesterday morning and found several Black Vultures having a feast. A road killed Raccoon that I had moved into the field a couple of days ago was now in the front yard. I decided to leave the carcass alone and let the vultures try to finish it off. That’s only a sound decision because my wife is away and won’t be back for a couple more days.
The Vultures saw me peeking through the shrubbery and took off.
They circled a couple of times and then drifted away. I went on out to the barn to do a little work.
When I stuck my head out of the barn an hour later, a Turkey Vulture was standing beside the Raccoon.
The heat and the fly larvae had done a good job of tenderizing the Raccoon. The Vulture was able to tear free some healthy bites.
It seemed that this guy was in total control of the carrion. I went back into the barn to continue my work.
When I next surveyed the scene, a single Black Vulture was eating while two Turkey Vultures looked on.
At a move from the Black Vulture in their direction, the Turkey Vultures simultaneously extended their wings. The wing spread appeared to be a defensive posture in response to the Black Vultures movement, but the reading I’ve done doesn’t indicate wing spreading being used for this purpose. Wing spreading is supposed to be for drying the feathers or warming the body. Perhaps that’s exactly what they were doing and the apparent aggressive move by the Black Vulture was just a misinterpretation on my part.
The Turkey Vultures moved away a few feet and again extended their wings while the Black Vulture continued to feed. The arrival of our mail carrier caused all of the birds to depart. I noticed them out there later in the day, but they’re going to have to really work to get things cleaned up before my wife gets back.