Seabird or what bird did I see?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by kach22i, May 15, 2009.

  1. kach22i
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Michigan

    kach22i Architect

    Seabird or what bird did I see? ............Large unknown bird mystery.

    I only took three photos and did my best to lighten them up to get more detail. Photos were taken North-East of Ann Arbor, Michigan on May 13, 2009. The barn is on Pontiac Trail Road between Warren road and Nixon road, sighted between 4:30 and 4:45 PM.

    I realize that the most likely and common bird I may have seen is a turkey vulture, However I'm not in the habit of stopping my car going 50 mph, turning around getting out of my car and taking picture of one of those.

    This bird was eagle sized but with a long aspect wing ratio like a black footed albatross (west coast USA). It was a bit ruffled and a bit un-kept looking but with a smooth feathered morning dove like head, no red neck, and no textured black neck.

    As I walked around the barn to get a different angled shot I heard a loud thwacking sound, drew my camera up and snapped the shot of the open wings as it glided off the roof.

    I saw no rapid wing beating as it disappeared behind the barn roof. It was easily spooked, and had an uneasy look in it's eye as it glaze back towards me when I first got out of the car.

    The body looked to be almost three feet long, and a wing span of seven feet, but keep in mind I only saw half of it (one wing).

    Long slender wings, skinny short legs, and a horizontal not vertical stance eliminates many birds of prey.

    The black footed albatross does have a slight variation in wing tone and wing tone differences are much greater in the common turkey vultures found in this area.

    I went back to the site the next morning after a bad storm the night before with a better camera in hand. I saw lots of birds, but not the large unidentified bird. I went back again today, just turkey vultures overhead and lots of smaller birds flying all around me.

    Several people have said this is a turkey vulture, several non-experts on the Internet said it could be a lost seabird of some kind.

    Seabird or what bird did I see?
    http://s184.photobucket.com/albums/x295/kach22i/MISC/

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    Opinions?
     
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    It ain't a turkey vulture, George. Their wingtip feathers splay out- there are four distinct notches in a turkey vulture's wingtip. This bird doesn't have that. And it perches with its body horizontal- a turkey vulture is angled up about 45 deg. when standing around.

    But I don't recognize what it is... I'll run the pics by a few people who might.
     
  3. kach22i
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Michigan

    kach22i Architect

    There are lots of Turkey Vultures out there, the 3rd time, last time I went there one was flying high overhead of the property.

    I'd sign on to it being a black vulture from South America, but it's not black headed (nor red).

    Last night my wife was watching season 18 of the TV show Survivor, shot in Brazil. They showed footage of some vultures, I rewound the tape and took these pictures of the screen. These are taken at angles which I have been unable to replicate, I'm not sure why.

    Going off photos alone of the mystery bird in flight, it certainly could be a vulture of some kind. The Black Vulture of South America has a wing span of 1.5 meters (almost five feet), could my excitement of the sighting added two feet?

    Link:
    http://www.arthurgrosset.com/sabirds/blackvulture.html

    Vultures tend to sit more up right, 30 or 45 degrees. Seabirds and ground dwellers/nesters tend to sit/stand with a lower more level profile as seen in the photos I took. That said the roof angle is there, and if a bird sat at it's typical angle it might purposely correct for the roof angle.

    http://s184.photobucket.com/albums/x295/kach22i/MISC/
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    Compare:
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  4. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: MD

    bntii Senior Member

    It's a turkey vulture.
     
  5. kach22i
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Michigan

    kach22i Architect

    ..........it's Supeman.:D
     

  6. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: MD

    bntii Senior Member

    My mistake...

    :)
     
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