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Art Collectibles Reflections by Kathy and Bill Lair

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Happy Buzzards Day or How to Capture a Turkey Vulture

March 15th, 2009 · No Comments · Birds

Vulture and PossumIt is March 15th, known as Buzzards Day in Hinkley, Ohio which celebrates the return of the turkey vultures with many festivities. I’ve never been to Hinkley, but I share their enthusiam for this often maligned bird. Although some think vultures are ugly dirty birds, I think they are wonderful. They are incredible fliers and can usually be seen soaring gracefully on the air currents searching for carrion. Yes, they are scavengers who eat dead meat for survival. They do us a great service by clearing our roads of the unfortunate creatures who have been killed by cars… deer, raccoons, oppossums.

One morning during rush hour the honking of many car horns alerted us to the fact that vultures had been landing in the middle of the street trying to feed on a possum that was killed right in front of our house. Our once-upon-a-time country road has turned into a major thoroughfare in the last few years with cars tearing through here at a much faster than posted speed so we thought for sure that the vultures would be run over too. At the very least, they would miss out on a good meal, so with a little trepidation, we brought the dead creature into our side yard where the vultures would be safe if they decided to land here. We didn’t know what would happen but it turned out to be a great meal for them and an incredible photo opportunity for us.

The bravest vulture landed right next to the possum and after some cautious investigating tugged and dragged the carcas until he got it to the back corner of the yard. He may have felt safer under the protection of the surrounding bamboo and may also have wanted to avoid being spotted by his competitors. Soon others landed and he began defending his rights of ownership. Three others shoved and jostled but allowed him to eat first. Four vultures in total fed from that carcas, returning for three days to pick it clean. They spent a lot of time eating, just standing around in the yard and observing from vantage spots in the trees just outside our living room windows. I’m not sure we’d do that again but it was a great adventure.

Kathy’s words

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