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View Diary: Dawn Chorus Birdblog: Scavenger Hunt (118 comments)

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  •  OK, now I've seen everything at dKos! (1+ / 0-)
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    lineatus

    A post on turkey vultures!?  And worse, I feel like I have something I gotta say about it/them!

    Nice job, lineatus!  

    As a birder, I wouldn't consider myself to be even a decent beginner.  Once I've spotted cardinals, robins, scissor-tailed flycatchers (our state bird), red-tailed hawks, an occasional roadrunner or ring-necked pheasant, red-headed woodpeckers, mourning doves, and the aforementioned turkey vultures, I'm pretty well done.  (Hmmm, maybe I'm doing better than I gave myself credit for....)

    But your comments about seeing turkey vultures perched on power poles immediately called to mind a time several years ago when I was in northwest Oklahoma (immediately west of Woodward) driving down the rural highway toward a project I was working on.  It was a good ol' Oklahoma summer afternoon--bright sun and 100+ degrees.  

    The high-voltage electric transmission lines were strung on tall poles (probably 95 footers) as I neared the plant they served.  I vaguely noticed some large bird shapes atop the poles, several in a row, with wings spread wide (about 6 feet or so) to catch whatever cooling breeze they could, I figured.  

    I had just about decided they were decoys designed to keep other birds from fouling the poles and conductors.  (A fairly common sight around here is a fake owl on top of a billboard to keep pigeons away.  For some reason, I take a perverse pleasure seeing pigeons perched ON the fake predator.)  

    Suddenly, one of the great birds moved its wings!  Drawn gradually from vague awareness to rapt attention by the birds, I nearly slammed on the brakes to watch them and realized they were turkey vultures (I've heard them called "turkey buzzards", too).

    As you say, their habits are kind of gross at first blush, but more elegant and necessary on further consideration.  And where better for them to await their next "Meals Under Wheels" than resting in a breeze atop a pole with a view of miles along the highway that will no doubt deliver for them again?

    Again, nice job!

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