Recently I wrote a post called, “Are You Seeing More Turkey Vultures Than You Used To?” Without a doubt, I can now answer affirmatively – YES. Perhaps it’s because my awareness of vultures has increased. Or, maybe it’s because I’ve been intentionally looking for them. Whatever the reason, I see vultures not just occasionally, but almost every day. It’s not only when I’m out and about; quite often they are circling over my house. In fact, they seem to have developed a habit of circling over my home and neighborhood on a regular basis.
If I was the type of person who put faith in omens and bad luck charms, I’d be worried the vultures were warning me and my neighbors of impending danger. The big screen often portrays vultures as harbingers of doom, circling over weakened prey, waiting for the opportunity to feast. The truth is, vultures do not circle dying animals (see article: Vultures!). Their keen sense of smell leads them to carrion (see article: Nature’s Focus: The Turkey Vulture). Not all movies depict vultures in a bad way though. In the animated film, “The Jungle Book,” vultures were characterized as friendly fellows (see clip). Whatever the opinion, the “clean up” work of vultures is valuable because it can help prevent the spread of disease.
A few days ago, as I was heading back from the grocery store, I spotted three turkey vultures sitting on the railroad tracks in my neighborhood. I quickly drove the rest of the way home, unloaded the groceries, grabbed my camera and headed back to the tracks. The vultures didn’t pay attention to me as I snapped a few photos of them. They contentedly perched on the metal rails and, every once in a while, stretched out their wings. The turkey vultures seemed quite comfortable in their role as the newest residents of my neighborhood. Comments?