Editor's Notes

Philip Kavouriaris was recipient of an ORCA Travel Grant to present this research at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Raptor Research Foundation and the Florida Ornithological Society.


The time span between a fledgling’s first flight from the nest and dispersal from its natal area is known as the post-fledging dependence period. This period is a critical life stage because it affects an individual’s survival and recruitment into adult populations. In Black Vultures, young birds learn to navigate their environment but remain dependent on their parents for food during this prolonged period. We analyzed movement data from nine fledglings equipped with backpack-mounted solar-powered transmitters (GPS/GSM 20-70 PTT, 45g, Microwave Telemetry, Inc.), which included over 450,000 locations collected over a period of approximately 250 days. Home range sizes and total distance travelled from the nest were calculated monthly. As expected, most fledglings were observed within the natal area at least periodically and individual home range sizes consistently increased throughout this period. Additionally, no mortalities were observed during this period. Our results help shed light on the movement and activity patterns of a demographic of Black Vultures that has not been previously studied. Given increases in human-wildlife conflict with this species in our region, research on post-fledging movements will be important to effectively implement management regimes going forward.

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