Maybe not pretty in the face but still a way cool bird! I have kind of a strange fascination with these guys so when I get to photograph them, I get kind of excited.
When camped on Colorado’s northeastern plains last week, I had an absolutely prime opportunity. More than 20 of them had staked out a spot by a lake as their early morning roost, one which thanks to having access to a boat I could easily get to.
Two mornings I spent a good bit of time photographing them taking 400+ photos of them each day. They put on a nice show for me with tons of flybys, many at close range, including this one.
They are amazing flyers, able to soar without flapping their wings for the longest time and that six-foot wingspan is simply impressive. They feed on carrion, usually rabbits and prairie dogs, and are said to be able to smell the dead animals up to a mile away.
At this spot, they were taking advantage of a die off of carp, dining on the carcasses on the shore. Their role as Mother Nature’s garbage man prevents the spread of disease from the carcasses.