I drove down to Baker parking area at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma to turn around. This parking area is next to Sally Jones Lake. Just as the lot came into view, I saw several Black Vultures feeding on a dead fish. I carefully positioned my truck so I could photograph these birds from inside, trying not to disturb them. The vultures flew up into a nearby tree, and I was able to capture this closeup:
Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place to observe and photograph Black Vultures. A mating pair has nested near the auto tour road for many years: (Young Black Vulture Peering From Nest Cavity)
With their mostly black plumage and bald, gray heads, Black Vultures are easy to identify. They use their sharp beaks to tear into carrion. Unlike their cousin the Turkey Vulture, Black Vultures find food by sight rather than smell. Their excellent eyesight allows them to soar high in the sky and spot carcasses on the ground below. Black Vultures also find food by observing where other vultures are congregating. They frequently follow Turkey Vultures, who locate carrion by scent, to a food source. This adaptation allows Black Vultures to be efficient scavengers and make the most of available carrion in their habitat.
I feel fortunate to have witnessed and photographed these impressive scavengers in their natural habitat. Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge protects crucial habitat for Black Vultures and many other species. I look forward to returning soon to capture more images of wildlife at this special place.
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS R7
- Lens: Canon RF 800mm f/11
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
- Date and Time Taken: September 17, 2023 (09:01 A.M.)
- Program Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f/11 (Fixed)
- Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
- ISO: 2000 (Auto)
- Exposure Comp: -0.3
- Focal Length: 800mm