[CT Birds] Flock of 9 Black Vultures in New Milford
ls.broker at cox.net
Fri Oct 26 14:24:08 EDT 2012
Back in the mid- to late-1980s, Connecticut birders who wanted to see a Black Vulture in the state generally had to travel to New Milford and climb the New Milford landfill in order to see one or two perched in the conifer trees below. I recall doing so with Tony Bledsoe in around 1987. We went down the landfill and climbed a snow-covered hillside in order to view two Black Vultures roosting in the trees with many Turkey Vultures. I have a clear recollection of this day, because I slipped on the snow and slid down the embankment when returning from the stand of trees. (We'll not discuss injuries to my pride.) In the process, my Roger Tory Peterson-signed field guide (Eastern Birds) fell out of my back pocket. I didn't realize what had happened until Tony and I were halfway back to New Haven. We were not about to turn around and search for the field guide in the darkening late afternoon. The next day, I drove back to New Milford, retraced our route over landfill and up hillside, and I easily recovered the field guide. The RTP signed guide was retired from field work to my library immediately thereafter.
Now some twenty-five years later, Black Vultures can be seen with relative ease throughout the state. Although they are much more common and widespread (including all the way across to the New London area), many birders continue to report them and add the sightings to their field notes. I know of only two confirmed breeding records for Black Vulture in Connecticut, so if you see a pair of Black Vultures this spring investigating a rocky ridge or groove of trees or abandoned barn, take special note. And, thanks for prompting my memory of observing Black Vultures in New Milford a few years ago.
Steve Broker (Cheshire)
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