September 13, 2009

Cathartes aura


In Lower Delaware, Turkey Buzzards are plentiful. They congregate in the air, on rooftops, in fields and on the roads. In the air they circle as they soar, ever searching for a food source. On a roof they open wide their wings to warm them in the sun. In fields they often huddle in groups engaged in the same activity for which you will see them on the roads: Alimentation.

Six large birds were doing just this by the roadside, on a curve, near Bayard. Normally they are pretty quick to fly away when a vehicle approaches but these were holding on until the last moment as my van came around the bend. Finally, as the sprinter bore down on them, three took off to the left and three to the right. This put three of them low over the road right before me. I began pumping my breaks as I came up behind the rumps of the birds, at windshield height, trying to ascend. I could see the effect of the lift created by the aerodynamic front end of the van as the invisible force gently nudged them up into the air and out of harm’s way.


THORN said...

that is a beautiful description of an unbeautiful bird. what movie is it... harold and maude?... that includes the story of some explorer who noted a beautiful bird on some foreign beach and later came to learn it was only a common seagull...? it's all about the perspective you're observing from, my friend..

Barry said...

It has been so long since I saw Harold and Maude I can barley remember it.

Andrew Wyeth has a really great painting of turkey buzzards flying. The view is from above them looking down. Have you seen it?