Vultures in Dedham

Vulture?

We drove into Dedham Square late this afternoon and saw what looked like a couple of hawks lazily circling overhead. But when we pulled into the parking lot by Rte. 1, it was obvious those were no hawks - they were too big. They decided to perch on a light pole across the highway - between Staples and that building with the porno place. Thank goodness for cameras with zoom lenses!

Vulture in flight?

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Zoom lenses

>>>>>between Staples and that building with the porno place. Thank goodness for cameras with zoom lenses! >>>>>

Why thank goodness? What were you able to see in the porno place with your zoom lenses?
(sorry, could not resist!)
JPM

Hawks from turkey vultures

One easy way to distinguish hawks from vultures while they're flying is that the tips of turkey vulture's wings appear frayed from a distance, or as though they have fingers.

Hawks wing tips appear entire - not frayed. Then, of course, distinguishing the several types of hawks common in this area becomes increasingly difficult, at least for me.

Other ways to tell

Hawks have a very flat wing, i.e. very little dihedral. That is, when they're soaring, you could draw a straight line from wingtip to wingtip and it would follow right along the leading edge of the wing. Vultures have a very pronounced V - lots of dihedral. Their body looks like it's hanging from the wings. You can easily see this difference when they're in lift and circling, even from a long distance. (Thanks to my bud Matt for that tip)
Also, hawks are just much better fliers - they're much smoother when circling. Vultures are very jerky fliers, rocking back and forth a lot.
Whenever I see a hawk soaring, I have to take a few minutes (or more) to watch. Drives my wife nuts sometimes.