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How do I tell a turkey vulture from a hawk when it is high in the sky? - Page 2

post #11 of 21

It has been my experience that hawks are lone hunters while vultures tend to flock.

OldGuy43

When evaluating data one should always consider the source and remember, no one wants to make illegal that which he wants to do.

 

Rights are not gifts from the government.

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OldGuy43

When evaluating data one should always consider the source and remember, no one wants to make illegal that which he wants to do.

 

Rights are not gifts from the government.

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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by popsicle 

It's kinda been covered, but I'll give it a go...

It's hard to tell color sometimes considering lighting.

Look at the photos posted above, and notice how the flight feathers of the vultures look transparent (without barring), while the hawks not so much (and if they do, it's usually barred).  That is your best clue for bad lighting.  Turkey vultures will have all "transparent" flight feathers, while the black vulture only the primaries.

As posted above, you can often tell by flight style. Vultures fly with their wings held at a bit of a V and wobble while flying.  Hawks (usually) fly with their wings straight out ---*--- and are more stable while soaring.  Keep in mind, ospreys hold their wings a little different yet.

If you are very interested in being able to tell the different raptors apart in flight, there is a great book called Hawks in Flight by Sutton, Dunne & Sibley.

ETA:  looking at the cover of that book on Amazon, is a Northern Harrier that is holding its wings in the V-like position.  Harriers aren't buteos (like Red-tailed Hawks) so the above doesn't apply.  I usually tell people that Harriers are hawks that give you the impression of a gull when flying.

ETA x 2: Yetti, the photo labeled "Sharp Shinned and a Red Shouldered Hawk" is actually a Sharp-shinned Hawk (an accipiter) and an immature Red-tailed Hawk.  You can tell by comparing the wings with the photo of the adult below.  Red-tailed Hawks almost always have that dark leading edge (patagial mark) and a dark "comma" at the wrist and a dark belly band to some degree.

Red-shouldered Hawk from Nat Geo:
http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-live/photos/000/171/overrides/red-shouldered-hawk_17177_600x450.jpg


Thanks Popsicle. I see what you mean about the rest of the coloring now that I compare the pics. I was pulling pics off the net that were marked as best as I could find. I did find many others that were named wrong also.
as for the "wing set" or how they hold the wings while flying the Red tails we have here in Michigan hold the leading edge of the wing way forward of straight. they like to carve into the wind it looks like.
as for others I get around here the Kestrels are the most fun to watch. they can hang in mid air for what seems like and hour watching something on the ground then they just pounce on it.


Edited by Yetti - 1/8/12 at 8:31am

Yetti.
               
 6 Embden's and 4 Pekin's ( lost 2 to coyotes)

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Yetti.
               
 6 Embden's and 4 Pekin's ( lost 2 to coyotes)

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post #13 of 21

A turkey vulture is a lot bigger than a hawk. But more importantly, the vulture does not hold it's wings straight out to the sides, but rather you will see the wings held out in a very broad, shallow V. The wing tips will be above the body. It is unmistakable. You can tell a turkey vulture right off, from a long ways away, because of this.

The bird watchers will tell you, V sfor vulture, this is how they identify them.


Edited by geoff40 - 1/8/12 at 11:15am
-Geoff. Since 1960.-
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-Geoff. Since 1960.-
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post #14 of 21

Also, the Turkey vulture does not fly as true as the hawk. There is a slight wobble in the way the vulture flies.

Chickens sure are fun!
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Chickens sure are fun!
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post #15 of 21

The shallow V shape of the wings plus the wobble (I call them slightly tipsy) always are the key indicators for a turkey vulture at a distance, to me. Colors, even light vs. dark, can be hard to see from far away in a bight sky! The wobble always gives it away for me.

post #16 of 21

Alice, Brucie and Lil Peep (Barred Plymough Rocks); Chico, Sandy and Pearlie (R.I. Reds); Esmerelda (Black Minorca) and Buttercup (Buff Orpington).


Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

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Alice, Brucie and Lil Peep (Barred Plymough Rocks); Chico, Sandy and Pearlie (R.I. Reds); Esmerelda (Black Minorca) and Buttercup (Buff Orpington).


Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

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post #17 of 21

The v shaped silhouette is the best way to tell.  If the wings are straight across (like an airplane), its a hawk or an eagle.  If the silhouette has a slight v shape, its a vulture.

post #18 of 21

For me, the best way to tell is to notice the angle of the wings while the birds are soaring. Most hawks and eagles will hold their wings horizontal when soaring. Vultures will hold them slightly above horizontal in a bit of a  "V" shape. It's not foolproof, but with the other good suggestions offered so far, it's one more identifying character. Click on the photo below for a larger version, and you will see what I mean.

 

post #19 of 21
Also, I believe that hawks are using loners, as vultures fly in groups. Is this true?
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by OMGchicken View Post

Also, I believe that hawks are using loners, as vultures fly in groups. Is this true?

 

 

Sometimes. Most hawks are not very social, and may only fly singly or in pairs (mated pairs). That said, during migrations, they can travel together... sometimes by the thousands!

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