I glanced out the window today and was surprised to see a very large bird perched in one of the tall pine trees across the street. I went outside with my camera and quickly recognized the bird as a vulture.


I watched as the bird walked along the pine branch.


I shifted position too to get a better view of the vulture. The bird was silhouetted against a mostly white/gray overcast sky, and I tried to maintain the black color while still showing details. I spot-metered as I shot, and then adjusted a little more in post-processing.


This bird is a black vulture, and I think it may be a juvenile. Adult birds have a wrinkled bare gray head, while juveniles have a darker head with some short dark bristly hair. I see vultures circling up in the sky every day, so it would make sense that they’d have nests somewhere in the area and that young vultures would venture out now and then.


The black vulture is a very large bird with a wingspan of about 5 feet. This vulture was carrying its right wing lower than its left wing, which made me wonder if it was injured. I didn’t see it fly away–it stayed on the branch until I went back in the house, and when I looked again a few minutes later it was gone.


One more of the black vulture.