The Birds Are Coming!

Awhile back I was walking with someone who wanted to get some pictures of kitsch. What better place to select than Murphys Diggins, our “ 5-Star Adult Mobilehome Community”. Now this is important as neither of us had a clue what was happening as we noticed the sky around us becoming more and more laced with birds. But not just any birds, Turkey vultures, carrion eater’s. weee ohhhhh weeeeeee  (think Dark Shadows Theme – my mom found it when it was in reruns and became addicted, hmn wonder if I’d bought the music- I’d have more easily dropped into homework mode in later years …).

Here you can see a couple of the roofs of the double-wides and all those little black specks that you can make out are vultures. It was creepy. Very creepy. Scary creepy. Their wingspan is about 6 feet – these are large birds. My walking companion confessed that at first she thought they were following us. Every time she turned around, there would be a bunch and their numbers continued to increase as our walk wore on. Then, we started to conjecture that some member of the senior home park was deceased, but yet undiscovered. We aren’t birders and truly didn’t have a clue (uninformed would be the word). Living in the mountains you do see turkey vultures in the area if someone has hit a deer, squirrel, raccoon or whatever. You see three, maybe five max.

Being ever the curious type, I Googled turkey vultures when I returned. Turns out, turkey vultures migrate (ooohhhh). Kern River Preserve (down south, near Bakersfield California) even has a Turkey Vulture Migration Festival in September – Saturday, September 24, 2011 – so grab your cameras and join the fun! J (Hey, what can I say, it’s Bakersfield folks). They report an average of 25,000 have been counted flying over a single point of their observation path from Sept to 3rd week in October. The birds “begin to gather in large flocks in August”; large? How about monstrous? I don’t know if they were more inland than usual, as folks who’ve lived here a lot longer than I were coming out of their homes and staring up at the sky totally dumbfounded. If you find this fascinating, they start heading south by September, with their numbers reaching a crescendo at the end of September.

It resembles a hawk in the air although Kern River tells us Turkey Vultures are more closely related to storks than true vultures.

The shots from underneath showing the silver on the wingspan always remind me of the Native American Thunderbird myths. These birds, with their 6 foot wingspan, are puny compared to the reputed size of the Thunderbirds.

Appears they like to spend the night in Murphys. Perhaps we should start our own turkey vulture migration festival. I can just picture it. You see, folks like to dress up for festivals and events here: Murphys Irish Days, Mystery Dinners, Pirate themed Wine Parties, Grape Stomp.. and on the list goes. 

The antennae shot is more the “ugly” look most of us think of when we think turkey vulture – gorgeous in the air, but not even close when on the ground.

This post is participating Sundays in my City  plus the parties linked below. Click here to read a few of Thunderbird myths.

12 comments on “The Birds Are Coming!

  1. superrelish says:

    Wow – what an amazing sight. I think I too would have been freaked out by so many huge birds filling the sky above me!

  2. Tara R. says:

    That is sort of creepy. Reminds me of the old Hitchcock movie “Birds.” There are a lot of vultures.

  3. Audrey says:

    We have crows here and sometimes they freak me out when there is a tree filled with them and all you see are the birds, not the green of the trees. Really nice shots.

    • Maggie says:

      Ah, crows are loud to boot which can make them worse. Thanks on the shots, most of these shots are just more a “record” than anything special.

  4. I love, love, love, love this blog post. I loved Dark Shadows! I had a love/hate thing about vultures when I was a kid growing up in rural Louisiana. My sister used to tell me to keep moving when I played in the yard because of the vultures. I never knew if she was kidding or not.

  5. oceangirl says:

    wow, especially the moon.

  6. Unknown Mami says:

    I think I would have run away screaming or hid inside one of the double wides.

  7. I don’t know if my sister could handle a tree full of turkey vultures. She freaked out one day when we had two in our front yard!

  8. Scott says:

    Whoa … I’ve never seen so many turkey vultures. Did they make any sounds?

    • Maggie says:

      I don’t recall the sounds – not a noisy venture. They don’t make much noise when flying but I was trying to recall if there was any squaking when they were roosting (sometimes one would displace another).

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