Tuesday, October 7, 2014
I've got a real thing for vultures. I think they are awesome, in the truest sense of the word. "Soar like an eagle" sure, but to glide and ride the thermals like a vulture, now that is effortless beauty. If the birds followed their pattern of years past, I must have missed the mass migration that generally occurs one day only in the last week of September. It's nothing to see twelve to twenty of the big guys sitting around the goat pen of a morning, but yesterday I counted over fifty. They were on posts, in the dead oak over the barn, around the water trough, and any number were pedestrians on the ground. None of the photos I took showed them to advantage. On my approach, the nearest joined up with those in the tree until it looked like one big black umbrella. They seem to know I mean them no harm and wait until the last minute to take off. Then the air is filled with the whump, whump, whump of their huge wings. They may move off to another nearby tree, but it's the strangest thing. So many of the little birds flutter and jump in the branches, but once the vultures settle, they sit like statues. Some may spread their wings to warm in the morning sun, but that is the only movement. Lacking a larynx, vultures are silent. Richard, my recent house guest, came in that morning, saying that something must have frightened the big birds as they'd all gone away while he was watching. "Richard, they've got day jobs, you know." "Oh, right." As I've said before, the world would be a stinky place without the clean-up crew.