Should we be worried?

The nearest cell tower has been the roost for a small band of vultures for years. In the last weeks, however, some of the vultures have ventured closer to the house for a rest, lighting on trees just past the yard. When you glance out the kitchen window and see the large, moribund-looking birds staring back, part of you wonders if it’s an omen.

A few days later, a lightning bolt crashed near the house, knocking out the power, water, air conditioners and other and  sundry electrics, as temperatures outside soared past 100. Inside, temps in the living room hit 107. Thanks to all the repairmen who have come and gone in the last two weeks, the house is livable again.

Neither of these fellows has come to roost near the house lately. At least none that we’ve seen.

Black vulture in tree
MORBID THE YOUNGER — Young black vulture hangs out on a tree that usually serves as a roost for collared doves and indigo buntings. He’s rather a dashing bird with a sharp look about him. 
Black vulture and hummingbird.
PHOTO BOMB — Fast-moving hummingbird gets a look from one of the local black vultures. (Can’t look at this one and not think of Beaky Buzzard from the Warner Bros. cartoons as he’s bringing home a baby bumblebee. ( )

Air surfing

From their hangout atop the local cell tower, both black and turkey vultures cruised the updrafts that lift from the Ouachita woodlands below. This morning, they were air surfing right outside the deck, swooping so close you could almost grab a feather.

Black vulture cruising.
LOOKING DOWN — Black vulture scouts for lunch.
9-28 Vulture1
SEARCHING — Something must have smelled inviting, since a troupe of vultures was circling and swooping over the south valley around noon today.  The group was infiltrated briefly by a kestrel flying east. 
A trio of vultures silhouetted against the sky.
THREE — A trio of vultures silhouetted against the sky.