Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘vulture

Time-tested technology

with 23 comments


Black vulture (Coragyps atratus) at Palmetto State Park on December 15, 2022.
The “time-tested technology” refers to a water tower.





Some of my commentaries have dealt with “the language police”—who apparently now would have me call them something like “people policing language.” It’s another example of the “people first” approach running rampant among ideologues. One organization pushing such things is the Associated Press (AP), which has long issued style guidelines for the wording of news stories. Those guidelines used to be sane, but now, as The Hill reported on January 27th:

The AP Stylebook’s Twitter account on Thursday posted recommendations to avoid the use of “the” before certain descriptors “such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, [and] the college-educated” because that phrasing can be “dehumanizing.” The post went viral with many Twitter users responding and making jokes about the inclusion of “the French.”

The French Embassy in the United States was one of the accounts that responded to the post, posting a screenshot of it changing its name from “French Embassy U.S.” to “Embassy of Frenchness in the U.S.” 

“I guess this is us now…” it commented. 


The last sentence in the article notes that according to the AP, “writers should be specific when possible, giving ‘people with incomes below the poverty line’ as an example.”

That makes me think we’ll have to update Emma Lazarus‘s poem “The New Colossus,” which appears on a bronze plaque beneath the Statue of Liberty. The best-known part will now need to be:

“Give me your people afflicted with tiredness, your people with incomes below the poverty line…”

Kinda messes up the meter, don’t you think?

On a less discordant note, you may or may not know that one of the most creative and successful immigrants ever to come to America, Irving Berlin, set the final part of Emma Lazarus’s poem to music for his 1949 show “Miss Liberty.” We’re fortunate to have a recording of Irving Berlin himself singing the song. You’re also welcome to listen to a version sung by a chorus.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2023 at 4:31 AM

Black vulture eating an armadillo

with 62 comments

“Wait a minute, not so fast,” you say, “your title can’t fool me. Neither of these pictures shows a black vulture eating an armadillo. The first is of a bull nettle flower (Cnidoscolus texanus), and the second shows yellowing Lindheimer’s senna leaflets (Senna lindheimeriana) backlit by the sun.” That’s what you say, and you’re right.

The fact remains that maybe once a year in my part of Austin I’ve come across and photographed vultures eating a dead animal. I’ve never posted any of those pictures because even if scenes like that are a part of life in the natural world, many viewers would find them gross. On August 5th, driving back home from the outing in my neighborhood that produced the two pictures above (along with those of the two green herons you recently saw), I had my latest encounter, this time with an armadillo providing the food for a black vulture (Coragyps atratus). If you’re up for such a picture, you can follow this link to see it. If you’d rather stick with the pretty white flower and backlit yellowing leaflets, no one will blame you.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 25, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Clouds and more

with 35 comments

Near dusk on January 6th I stationed myself at a high place along Lost Horizon Dr. with a good view of the sky, hoping the sunset might be pleasant. As I took the cloud picture above, I noticed that a bird had flown into the frame at the lower right. With no time to change to better settings on the camera, all I could do was pan to follow the bird, which fortunately got closer. Three seconds after the first photograph (thanks, metadata) I took the second, whose dark subject seems to my non-avian-attuned eyes to be a vulture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2019 at 4:49 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

Black and grey

with 48 comments

Vulture Atop Dead Tree 1824

Compare the colors (except for the red) and textures of this vulture with those of the dead tree on which I found it sitting at Tejas Camp in Williamson County on January 13. If you’d like to zoom in on the vulture, you need only click the excerpt below.

Vulture Atop Dead Tree 1824 Detail

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2016 at 5:02 AM

Vulture atop Ashe juniper

with 25 comments

Vulture Atop Ashe Juniper Tree 4062

After I stopped to photograph some flowering cenizo bushes on September 2, I noticed a group of black vultures, Coragyps atratus, feeding on the carcass of a small animal. When I got closer I could tell that it was a rabbit, but my approach scared the vultures away. One flew up and settled on the top of an Ashe juniper tree, Juniperus ashei, as you see here.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2015 at 5:27 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: