Setting the record straight on weather photo

September 22, 2017

Regarding the weather picture on page 6 of the Sept. 12 edition of the Cape Gazette, I judge that the photo more likely depicts black vultures than turkey vultures.

Both species are common in Sussex County. Turkey vulture adults have a featherless red head but adult black vultures have featherless black heads. While immature turkey vultures also have black heads, they also have long tails. These birds appear to have black heads and short tails, which likely make them black vultures. Featherless heads are adaptations for cleanliness while eating carrion, which both vulture species do.

Those interested in birds in southern Delaware are invited to participate in field trips offered by Sussex Bird Club, usually held on alternate Thursday mornings and announced at SBC meetings are held at 2 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month at Cadbury on Gills Neck Road.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge also hosts birding and nature field trips at the Refuge Headquarters, usually on weekends and announced on their website. The next Prime Hook Natinal Wildlife Refuge field trip is Sunday, Sept. 24, starting at 8 a.m.
Lastly, Cape Henlopen State Park Hawk Watch, conducted by DNREC and Delmarva Ornithological Society, is a great place to spend some time between now and the end of November.

The hawk walk is manned daily by a professional ornithologist to count migrating raptors assisted by volunteers.

All are welcome - no experience necessary.

Robert W. Blye
vice president, Sussex Bird Club


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