Man Eaters?

turkey vulture in windowI was standing in the middle of our backyard a few weeks back, when I felt a shadow pass overhead and heard a noise like a hovering helicopter.

I looked up, fully expecting to see the National Guard landing on the patio. Instead, I caught sight of the largest bird I’ve ever seen sitting on our chimney. A moment later, I heard the noise again and watched a second one come out of our garage window to join its friend.

Gigantor and friend just sat there like they owned the place. This was news to share with the family. It was a Sunday afternoon, so I ran to get Clay and my wife to take a look. Of course, by the time we got back outside they were gone. But my wife did confirm an earlier sighting of these monsters, so I know I didn’t imagine the whole adventure.

A quick search on Google revealed that we have two vultures nesting in the loft in our garage, and they are not going anywhere until mating season is over in May. One has a red head and one has a grey head, prompting much discussion over whether they are black or turkey vultures. Either we are hosting the first interracial vulture couple in existence or one of them is younger and hasn’t fully matured into its red face. We’re going with turkey vultures.

According to the Turkey Vulture Society (of course there is a Turkey Vulture Society) they have six-foot wingspans and weigh up to six pounds. Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, you can here how they sound. (More like the wind, then a bird.)

Picture of turkey vulture in windowThey’re not causing any trouble so far, but the afternoon sitter isn’t overly thrilled, since they seem to spend late afternoons lurking in the tree branches like they are waiting for a hanging. They mostly feed on carrion (dead animals), so I think she is OK as long as she doesn’t lay down on the ground or walk around with cold cuts on her head. The dog doesn’t seem too worried, and, frankly, he seems the closest to their food group, so I’m taking my lead from him.

Still, this called for advice from an expert. We turned to our resident animal lover, Clay, who has been taking the new visitors in stride.

“Do you like the turkey vultures,” my wife asked on the keyboard he uses to communicate.

“Yes. They seem so awesome. They are sad because so docile and so aware that we are afraid.”

“Should we be afraid of them?”

“No so silly they are docile.”

There you have it. I’m bringing the little guy out with me when I barbecue, though. Just in case.

vulture flying


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  1. #1 by Tenley on April 7, 2011 - 8:56 am

    He’s so in tune with the world around him — I think the world is a better place for having him share his insights with us. Thank you!

    Also, I think you guys should name your vulture couple!

    • #2 by Larry Blumenthal on April 7, 2011 - 9:51 am

      Great idea. Any naming suggestions out there?

  2. #3 by Linda Wright Moore on April 7, 2011 - 10:01 am

    Hi Larry – Lovely vultures… great kid…keep those cold cuts in the house, though!

  3. #4 by colleen tarcza on April 7, 2011 - 10:12 am

    I was honored to meet Clay last summer when he came out with Roe to ride my big horse ‘Morgana’. He has a keen insight on nature and animals.
    I am greatful for Turkey Vultures. They really are Gods garbage men. They keep down viruses and bacterial by cleaning up road kill/dead deer etc.. Enjoy these critters.

  4. #5 by autismmommytherapist on April 7, 2011 - 11:16 am

    Love that he uses the word “docile”…

  5. #6 by Kim on April 8, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    I miss you guys! What a fun post. Leave it to Clay to always inspire an open mind. I guess turkey vultures are pretty cool if you think about it…

  6. #7 by Gppa Tony on April 16, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Out of the mouth of babes.

    I told Roe that you have a flare for writing. Lord knows, you have enough material for a book.

  7. #8 by Kelsi @ Modern Mom Redefined on April 22, 2011 - 9:41 pm

    BRB while I go look up the word “docile”! =) He sounds like a great kid!!!

    I am a new follower and can’t wait to read more! Come follow me back and check out my giveaway that is perfect for parents of a kid(s) with Autism! I have another one (a music therapy program) coming soon, as well!

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