It seems to me that this winter lasted forever. I don’t remember what I was bummed out about, because when I look back, I can truthfully say it wasn’t a bad winter. The weather was mild, and so were the heating bills. We never lost power. The cats kept us entertained. I guess it was just not being able to go outside. Now that Spring has come, I am reinvigorated. The onions and lettuce aren’t only planted, they are up and reaching for the sun, my tomato plants are strong and stalky and eagerly awaiting transplantation into warm soil, and the spring birds are everywhere. The hungry chirps of baby birds can be heard on either side of my front porch, and the chickadees and sparrows almost meet me at the feeder when I go out to give it its daily refill. But… It is not the birds in the front yard that are occupying my attention this Spring.
I was working in the guest room last week when I spied something out the window that had me tripping over myself as I lunged for my camera.
“There are golden eagles in the backyard!” I yelled to my husband as I ran out the door. (Note to self: “Yelling is not a good idea if you’re trying to sneak up on something.”)
In spite of my foolish announcement, I was greeted by an awe inspiring site. The massive outstretched wingspan of this guy.
Right about now, you’re probably saying, “Sue, there’s something a little funny about your eagle.”
But give me a break. My vision isn’t what it used to be, and the cats have slimed the guest room windows.
They were vultures, but I wasn’t disappointed. A vulture is a beautiful, majestic bird that soars on the thermals with a grace that man could never duplicate. (Beautiful might not be the right word… presentable… tolerable… Okay, I concede. Turkey vultures are just plain ugly. ) Summer evenings will find me relaxing in my backyard watching the vultures glide overhead as they return to their nightly roosting place. For the first time, they were roosting within the reach of my camera, and they brought a young one with them!
Vultures are a vital part of nature’s clean up crew, and this flock of seven were hanging out in our back yard to do us a much appreciated favor. The fragrant odor of the deer decaying behind our barn will be a mere memory when this flock moves on. Only bones will remain. (The deer originally died under our front porch, but that is a tale too disgusting to relate here.)
Until they leave us, to clean up the next corpse, I will continue to creep around the corners of the barn in an effort to get better photos. I’m not getting my hopes high. This flock always seems to arrange for a sentry to watch on one of the taller trees. When I approach, he unfolds his wings to warn the others that a strange human with a camera is approaching. I guess if everyone insisted that I was ugly, I might avoid cameras too!