Awsome Vulture

Seasonal communal roosting of new world vultures (Cathartidae) is common throughout their range.  Radford Virginia has a large communal roost of Black Vultures (Corogyps atratus) and Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) that is active from early November through March and into April.    Speculation as to why vultures roost communally has ranged from the thermal advantage provided by roosting in groups to information transfer for the location of carcasses.  My research centers on trying to understand roost site characteristics, as well as the distribution and behavior of birds at the roost. 

Research opportunities include behavioral observations of roosting behavior, capturing and marking vultures at vulture restaurants (feeding stations), analyzing pellets (castings) to assess diet.