Friday, November 11, 2011

Buzzard Roost

After posting the Robinson Jeffers poem Vulture earlier in the week, I remembered some pictures I took early this year. Back in January we were doing some field work in the desert near Blythe, California. In town one morning, I saw about 30-40 turkey vultures using a large eucalyptus tree as a roost.
The temperature was in the high 30s - just about as cold as it ever gets in Blythe. This flock was about as cold, huddled-up and miserable-looking group of birds as I have ever seen, accustomed as they were to the 100+ degree temperatures here most of the year.

Finally, as the sun rays hit more directly, a few starting spreading their wings to catch the heat, as turkey vultures are wont to do.


Anonymous said...

Here in Indiana - where Turkey Buzzards are almost no one's favorite bird, they are given to roosting en masse in the tall Norway Spruce which grow so prolifically here ... the birds are prolific as well, and have taken to scavenging outlaying residential areas, taking anything from garbage and roadkill, up to and including small pets ... I've never heard of them going for small pets - is this common?

Black Dog Lady

Steve Bodio said...

Their relative the black vulture, found further south, has been known to kill newborn piglets, but most New World vultures are obligate carrion eaters- no "talons" or grasping feet. Maybe yours are taking the blame for somebody else-- redtails?

Old world vultures are something else-- eagles adapted to carrion- and more aggressive. Jonathan Kingdon has seen a pair of the scary lappet faces kill a young antelope.

And the aberrant kitelike "bone- breaker", the lammergeier, has been known to knock things off mountain ridges, like the cartoon: "patience hell-- I'm going to kill something!" (The not always trustworthy Meinertzhagen, whose totem was the lammergeier-- he actually embroidered a tapestry of one-- alleged it had happened to him.)

Teddy said...

"Hail to thee, 'Blythe' spirit(s)"!

Couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

Ha! reminds me of where I went(was incarcerated) to college, in Cullowhee, North Carolina(Western Carolina University). "Cullowhee"(name of the little town where the college is located), is a word from the Cherokee language which the pamphlets printed up and passed out to prospective college students says means "valley of the lillies". I took an actual Cherokee language course, and found out "Cullowhee" is a corrupted contraction of a much longer, more complicated word that means "Buzzards circling"--as over something dead, as this valley was an ancient burial ground for the Cherokee! Not exactly good fodder for those glossy pamphlets! Hence the nickname of the town with the locals-- "Buzzard's Roost"!!...L.B.