Birding the Everglades: Grim Reapers

A great place to see a wide variety of interesting birds up close is the Anhinga Trail in the Royal Palm section of Everglades National Park.  It is located just a few miles past the main gate on the South side of the park.  I visited the Anhinga Trail the other day and was surprised to see a large number of Black Vultures congregating on the ground at the beginning of the trail.  I have seen them in twos and threes, but normally if you want to see a lot of vultures you need simply to look up and they will be circling high in the sky.  Vultures are scavengers so I naturally suspected that I would find a dead animal up ahead.

It turned out to be a Double-crested Cormorant that was not dead, but lying on the ground and appeared to be injured.  A couple of the vulture took some test pecks, but back away quickly at the cormorant’s angry retort.  The rest of the vultures just waited around like nature’s grim reapers predicting the inevitable.

Black Vulture – Don’t Fear the Reaper

An ominous gathering of birds in black.

“I’m not dead yet!”

“I can dance and I can sing, ‘cos I’m not yet dead!”

This Black Vulture is striking a pose often seen on Anhingas and Cormorants.  He is displaying his distinct white fingers, which help us distinguish him from a Turkey Vulture when he hovers high overhead.
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