Vulture symposium


Today, I was granted observer status at a symposium of Turkey Vultures. The gathering was called on account of a cougar kill of a hapless deer. At eighteen delegates, it was the largest congregation of vultures I have witnessed, although it was reported to have been larger a day earlier. 

I chose to attend the first meeting of the morning, which seemed to be a disorganized exercise in callisthenics whereby vultures preened and stretched their wings in the sunlight after a wet and cool night.

Six of eighteen vultures are seen here, five of which have wings spread to catch the sunlight.

On an adjacent snag, four more vultures preened and basked in the sunlight.

It is always a difficult decision whether to turn one’s back or front towards the sun.


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6 Responses to Vulture symposium

  1. Trevor Goward says:

    I suppose it was the deer who was the keynote speaker…

  2. Deyanne Davies says:

    The first time I encountered TV,s was probably 25 years ago on the way to Northport. There were about 30 in the tree – a roadkill deer – I still can’t pass the spot without remembering!

  3. I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
    Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
    high up in heaven,
    And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
    I understood then
    That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
    Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
    I could see the naked red head between the great wings
    Bear downward staring. I said, ‘My dear bird, we are wasting time
    These old bones will still work; they are not for you.’ But how
    he looked, gliding down
    On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the
    over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
    That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
    become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes–
    What a sublime end of one’s body, what an enskyment; what a life
    after death.

    Robinson Jeffers

  4. Margo Saunders says:

    A moment ago, I responded to an email where I mentioned Alistair’s work as “enthralling”. This email, the next in the queue, proves that.

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