Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Vulture Rookery

There has only been a couple of times I have been questioned about why I was taking pictures of someone or someones house. The people in this house on the street on which  I live saw me taking pictures and came out to question why I was doing it. I explained to him I wasn't taking pictures of his house, but of the vultures in the trees behind the house. He told me they had been gathering in larger and larger numbers over a few months, but I already knew that. They would return to his backyard in the evening to spend the night.

The attraction was the type of trees he had in his backyard - dead and dying. Notice how most of the trees they are roosting in lack the finer branches like some of the surrounding trees. That is because as trees die, they shed their peripheral limbs first, leaving the heavier limbs like stumps. Vultures prefer these types of limbs because their wings do not get entangled in them while landing or taking off or during the night when they are perched on a branch. I can't imagine what his backyard looked like.

There is a mix of both black and turkey vultures. I think I counted something like 72 birds in this picture at one time, but I know there were more in the surrounding trees outside the frame of the picture. I remember I came down with the flu the day after I took this picture and thought I was going to die. Thankfully, they didn't decide to take up watch in the trees around my house.

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