Daily Nature Diary

Nature Diary 5: Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura)

Daily observation and daily writing are my goals, and I’m pleasantly surprised how well I’m able to stay with them. They are rules I’ll try to carry with me beyond this exceptional era. However daily sharing may not be reasonable. Polish takes time, which I have in spades, and energy, which I can’t always muster. We must be kind to ourselves and recognize when we’re asking too much. Rest is essential for clarity and creativity.

I was passing by the road leading to a now abandoned elementary school when I heard loud, frantic flapping, like tattered flags caught in a windstorm. I whipped around to see what was causing the racket.

Two huge black turkey vultures were squabbling over a snag perch, clumsily batting and prodding each other with their enormous wings. The one who couldn’t keep a good talon-hold eventually gave up and resigned itself to settling a couple trees over. If turkey vultures can glower, this one was glowering darkly at its rival while the other bird sat nonchalantly preening the white tips of its wings.

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