When my wife lived in DC, I’d occasionally make impromptu trips down from Vermont Friday afternoon. One spring afternoon, on my drive back north, I spotted a vulture circling over I-95 (it’s possible soaring scavengers are drawn to areas with lots of asphalt. The dark surfaces bake in the sun and send thermals rising up keeping the vultures aloft). In two were several others rising up over the ridge flanking the interstate. The birds were very much like turkey vultures, large, black, gliding smoothly on thermals. But something was, well, different. The tails were cropped short, their wings stubbier, and the sun glinted off the white wing tips. It was the first time I’d ever seen a black vulture, Coragyps atratus. And what a treat I was in for – on that drive I counted well over 300 black vultures circling overhead between DC and about NYC. As the black vulture trail petered out, they were replaced by the occasional small cluster of turkey vultures migrating back to Vermont.