From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vultures at Rest

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Birds and Animals...



BuzzardsA group of about ten turkey buzzards was resting in these trees near a little stream, but when they saw me, all except these two flew away.

I had never really thought of buzzards flying south in flocks, but we've been seeing them in large groups lately. When we drove over to Harvest Praise through the hills and trees, we saw a flock of about 20 turkey buzzards resting on one of the big metal towers that carries major electrical cables. Dennis and I agreed that we'd never before seen that many buzzards hanging out together.

I did a brief bit of research tonight to see if they migrate in flocks, and while I didn't find anything that clearly states their migratory practices, I did find some references to flocks of migrating turkey vultures flying over. For example, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Weekender Report for October 18-31, 2006, states the following:
Meanwhile, Diann MacRae of the Olympic Vulture Study, continues to receive reports of turkey vultures coming through on their fall migration southward. Groups of the birds reported seen around the area during September included the following: 30 between Rochester and Elma; 20 spiraling over the Elwa River; 7 at Bottle Beach; 5 at Brady Loop; 32 near Tenino; 36 on the Enumclaw plateau; 7 over Olympia; 22 over the Tahuya area; 16 over Eatonville; 7 soaring over Tokeville; and 6 at the Port Angeles Airport.

Audubon's buzzardsTurkey Vultures, by
John Jacob Audubon
I hope the large flocks of vultures we're observing this fall aren't grouping up and leaving early because they sense a bad winter coming!

Related posts:
Buzzards Along The Road
Uniting organisations to save vultures
Buzzards Resting in the Trees

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4 comments:

TKls2myhrt said...

Wow! You sure found more resources than I did. It was an amazing sight to see those birds flying together so high in the sky. Those birds hung out in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities all summer before returning to whereever they came from. As far as I know, they didn't return the next year.

limey said...

Apart from a close up view of a couple of specimens that were dining on some road kill by the side of Little River Road, and were not to be put off even when we slowed down and stared at them (they stared right back) I have only had one other encounter when I was flying an eagle shaped kite. A bird that had been circling for ages flew dowm to see what the competition was. Needless to say it did not take long to decide it was a fake and it climbed away and continued circling. They are probably Americas ugliest bird - but magnificent when soaring.

Genevieve said...

I'm so glad you stopped by, TKls2myhrt. You took some interesting photos of the migration. Thanks for putting them on the internet!

Genevieve said...

Limey, I heard on some nature show that sometimes buzzards gorge themselves to the extent that they can't fly! I've come upon them clustered around a disgusting piece of roadkill, and sometimes they do act like they can barely achieve takeoff. But you're right about buzzards in flight. They're graceful and majestic when riding the winds.

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