Posts Tagged ‘vultures’

Give the buzzard a little respect

July 2, 2009

180px-Urubu_a_tete_rouge_-_Turkey_VultureBuzzards, or turkey vultures, are the Rodney Dangerfield of the bird world. They get little or no respect for doing a nasty job. While the large black scavengers repulse most people, they fascinate me.

There seems to be an upsurge in their population in the area. As I travel the highways and byways of Sussex County by car and bicycle, I see buzzards in locations not normally associated with dead and decaying animals.

I’ve seen flocks of buzzards perched on houses, schools, office buildings and even a church.

I guess the increase in numbers of buzzards is a result of the fact that no one messes with them. I haven’t seen a buzzard head mounted on anyone’s wall and I doubt there will ever be a vulture and dumpling dinner at the Methodist church.
Believe it or not, in the United States the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. If you kill one you can be fined $15,000.

Kill one? Most people don’t even want to look at one. It might have something do with the fact that they eat dead stuff and also vomit a lot and defecate on their own legs to cool off.

Since I’m out and about a lot on back roads, I have been able to study buzzards. There is no doubt they are getting bolder. In the past, if you got within 200 feet of a buzzard, it would fly away. Today, it seems you can walk up to one along the road and peel off a piece of possum and not disturb it.

It’s not unusual to see a large flock of buzzards gather around a carcass as well. There must be some kind of hierarchy within the buzzard clan system because some seem to be in charge and get first dibs.

The one place I haven’t seen buzzards congregating is the rooftop of the county administration building on The Circle in downtown Georgetown. Some county residents might like to see that. There are some folks who think some good old-fashioned bone picking is just what county government needs.