Turkey Vultures

23 March 2015 Cayuga, ON. With an absolutely clear calendar I foresaw a day in which I could seek some spring-arrival Tundra Swans and other waterfowl usually associated with the first open water. But the temperatures dropped precipitously last night and, although bright and sunny, it was cold today and a brisk north wind only made things worse. I had little appetite for standing around peering at distant ducks under such conditions; there are times when I’ll willingly do so – but not today.

I visited our local hawk-watch where three shivering and cheerless souls, stood scanning an empty sky. I like hawk-watching under certain conditions: an abundance of birds and moderate temperatures being foremost; I left and headed for the bird observatory where I spend so much time in spring and fall.

Not far from the bird observatory I disturbed a pair of Turkey Vultures who had found the corpse of a raccoon; a satisfying meal I imagine. They flew heavily to a nearby shed and sat disconsolately waiting for me to leave. Anticipating a good photo opportunity, instead I parked in a convenient spot and waited for them to revisit their breakfast before it got cold. Evidently it wasn’t that important to them for after a few minutes they left for a little exercise, a flap around the neighbourhood. I took just a couple of shots, this one ruffling its feathers just before take off.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

At the bird observatory, I bundled up and walked around my spring and fall census route compiling an interesting list of birds, including three petulant Killdeer and a Red-tailed Hawk driving a one-year-old Bald Eagle away from the hawk’s chosen nest site. Two male Wood Ducks flew past me following the river upstream with a flock of six male Mallards close behind. The Wood Ducks were squealing, as they do, like frightened piglets, a rather disappointing sound from a bird, which, in every other way, is thoroughly endearing.

Chilled and eyes streaming, I left knowing that warmer weather is really not very far away and quite happy with my day’s sightings. Especially with the Turkey Vultures, my slightly macabre Birds of the Day.

One thought on “Turkey Vultures

  1. I find they look hilarious perched on homes, sheds, garages, etc. It’s a shame really though. As far as I understand, their natural perch would be a cliff. Yes, we need to protect areas like the escarpment!!!

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