Yesterday I got a good look at the four Black Vultures that have been hanging 
around. They were sitting together on one of the compost piles at the Cornell 
facility on Stevenson Road. Two of the four had very black faces and feathers 
higher up on the back of the head, indicating that they are young birds hatched 
this year. The other two had gray, wrinkled faces of adults.

I saw both juveniles interact with an adult, pecking at each other's bill in 
what looked like an "affectionate" way. (We use the term "affiliative behavior" 
for things like grooming and other positive interactions.) They may have done 
some brief allopreening, but I couldn't tell for sure.

Black Vultures are known to have a complex social system where they associate 
and cooperate with kin. Young Black Vultures are known to hang out with their 
parents up until the next breeding season.

I suspect this group is a mated pair with two offspring. That would explain why 
we always see the four together.

Also present was the leucistic Turkey Vulture that has been seen off and on for 
a number of years.

I have photos at


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