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Old Saturday 7th January 2006, 16:35   #1
jaxmtn
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Smile Albino Buzzard Photos1

Hello all, noobie here. I joined this board because I thought you folks might be interested in some photos of an albino buzzard we saw yesterday. We live on a mountain in South-Central Pennsylvania (Jacks Mountain), about 10 miles SW of Gettysburg, and we see buzzards every time we look out the windows. They perch on the rocks around our house and roost in nearby trees & rock outcrops.

In the 6 years we've lived here, we've seen lots of normally-colored turkey vultures and black vultures, but we have never seen a white buzzard until yesterday. The albino looks more like a black vulture than a turkey vulture to me, but it's hard to tell them apart from a distance. It did not have a red head like a turkey vulture, but the albinism might have caused it to have a white head. The feathers on top of the wings were pure white, and those on the wing bottom had a slightly greyish cast. I've noticed that the feathers on underside of the wings of normal buzzards are more greyish than the dark black feathers on top of the wings. Anyway, here are 4 of the photos. I'll post another 4 in a follow-up post. Any comments?
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Old Saturday 7th January 2006, 17:01   #2
jaxmtn
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Here are 4 more photos of the albino buzzard.
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Old Saturday 7th January 2006, 17:46   #3
RJElse
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With no plumage details shape is pretty much all there is to go on. Based on this I'd say its a black vulture. For instance, the wings and tail do not look long enough for a turkey vulture, and the wings are very broad.
I cant see the leg length very well in the photos to compare it with the tail, did you notice them being long? ie. reaching the tail tip.
The only unusual thing is that all the photos show the bird to fly with the wings held slightly raised in a v-shape. Black vulture usually carries them flat.

It's certainly an interesting-looking bird. Thanks for posting about it.
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Old Sunday 8th January 2006, 03:19   #4
jaxmtn
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I didn't notice the leg length other than what is visible in the 5th photo. Usually they keep them tucked up when flying. I was hoping that he would land on our deck rail, so I could get better photos. They frequently do that, in fact it is quite a nuisance. Here's a couple of shots of what appears to be a black buzzard on the rail showing much better detail.
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Old Sunday 8th January 2006, 09:31   #5
wolfbirder
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definately vulture as opposed to buzzard. nice shots!
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Old Sunday 8th January 2006, 14:18   #6
Miedin
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I envy your view from your property. Thats a cool looking vulture you've got there.
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Old Sunday 8th January 2006, 14:44   #7
willowa
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Great photos. Fantastic views from your house Im so jealouse.....
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Old Sunday 8th January 2006, 14:45   #8
Beverlybaynes
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Jax, I see this you are a new member, so let me give you a warm welcome from all of us on staff at BirdForum.

You certainly live in beautiful countryside -- I've visited the area several times, but never as a birder.

May I suggest you move a couple of your photos to our galleries where they'll be seen by even more of our members?

Enjoy yourself on the forums!
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Old Thursday 12th January 2006, 12:25   #9
John Dixon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJElse
With no plumage details shape is pretty much all there is to go on. Based on this I'd say its a black vulture. For instance, the wings and tail do not look long enough for a turkey vulture, and the wings are very broad.
I cant see the leg length very well in the photos to compare it with the tail, did you notice them being long? ie. reaching the tail tip.
The only unusual thing is that all the photos show the bird to fly with the wings held slightly raised in a v-shape. Black vulture usually carries them flat.

It's certainly an interesting-looking bird. Thanks for posting about it.
I agree its a fascinating bird, but I reckon it is a Turkey Vulture. Usually you see TVs from below and the contrast in the underwing disguises how broad it really is. On the flight action and shape (and on peering at the head shape in the couple of pix that show it) I would have to go for TV. One picture in the first batch, with a bunch of other vultures of both species, shows the size and jizz are exactly right.
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Old Thursday 12th January 2006, 14:51   #10
jaxmtn
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The albino vulture returned on Jan 9 and I got some more photos. Unfortunately, they are longer shots, and it's hard to zoom in on a moving target. Here's a composite of 8 photos in flight. I have to agree that it is probably a turkey vulture, just based on the dihedral angle of the wings. It almost never flies with wings flat. If it comes back again I'll try to get some better photos.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2006, 21:11   #11
TNHawke
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Judging by the other vultures around him, I'd say it's a turkey vulture. I can see the red heads, and turkey vultures do hold their wings in a V. We get them a lot around here. Then again, judging by the close up of the one on your deck railing, it could be a black. Depending on where you live, it's always possible you've got both in your area. That albino is a BEAUTIFUL bird. Stunning find.
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