Monday, November 13, 2017

Death Above the Highway

These are Black Vultures jungled up in a tree over the highway.  It was a cold morning, and they were not going to be able to soar for at least an hour or two, yet the abundance of roadkill and gut-shot deer is keeping them in the area longer than is probably normal absent the presence of cars and guns.

Twenty years ago, all the vultures around here were red-headed Turkey Vultures, but global warning seems to have moved the Black Vultures north from the Carolinas and points South.  Not nearly as many Turkey Vultures are around any more.

The Fall was over in a blink.  In 10 days we went from full trees to bare branches thanks to a cold snap and rain.  The mixed flocks of black birds are starting to assemble and move south in numbers, and the Saw Whet owls are coming down from Canada now, but the Robins are still hopping about, though they too appear to be assembling.

A group of vultures is called a committee, venue or volt if in a tree or an a cliff or barn roof. In flight, soaring in a circle, they are called a kettle, but when the birds are feeding together on a roadside deer or downer cow, it's called a wake.

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