WKU Public Radio News Staff
Tue January 17, 2012
Vultures Flocking in Kentucky
By Joe Corcoran WKYU-FM
Bowling Green, KY – Flocks of vultures, some numbering in the hundreds, are in their mid-winter flock in the area.
Kentucky state ornithologist Kate Heyden says it's not unusual; vultures do it every winter for warmth and for "safety in numbers' to protect themselves against predators.
The flocks look for the warmest spots they can find often near industrial facilities or in valleys to get out of the cold winter wind. The "roosts" frequently get chased around, or move on their own,and flocks of from fifty birds to more than a thousand are common. Heyden says birds often fly miles just to be a part of a larger flock.
Heyden says the flocks are most often sighted a few hours before sunset gathering together and swarming, then again in the early morning hours. Heyden calls vultures "rather lazy birds" that don't wake up early in the morning. When they do, they'll often sit around for hours waiting for the sun to warm them up.
And while Heyden says the birds can be "dark and ominous looking", they actually perform a valuable service in keeping the area free of carrion.