I was probably 18 years old before I ever saw a buzzard up close. My dad and I were driving around and I saw this enormous, horrid, black-turkey-looking thing sitting on a fence post. I was sorta freaking about it and my dad pulled over, thinking something was wrong with me. I asked him what in the WORLD that was and he just laughed at me and told me it was a buzzard. Well, of course I knew what a buzzard was, I had seen them circling in the sky many times before. I guess perspective-wise, I just didn’t realize that if a bird looks that huge flying hundreds of feet in the air, then it must be of gargantuan proportions. Anyway, there are some things that just stay in your memory forever, and my first encounter up close and personal with a buzzard is one of those things.
Fast forward about 30 years. There is a really huge tower on the outskirts of my little town. This has long been a favorite roost for the nasty things. I personally think they are just lazy. From that vantage point, with their eagle-eyes, they can spot a carcass for miles around, and never have to flap their old buzzard wings at all. Anyway, I digress. Monday morning as I drove to work, I noticed the buzzards were gone from the tower. A movement to the left caught my eye, and I was horrified to see thousands of them (well maybe a hundred or so) perched on the rooftop of this nice little farmhouse. And the yard was totally black, so many of them were waddling around on the grass. EWWWW!!!! I was a bit worried, thinking that CSI would be on the scene shortly. Surely something must be dead nearby. Could it be a horse in the barn? A deer? I shuddered to think of the poor woman who lives there all alone. I decided to do my civic duty and notify the authorities if the buzzards were still there that afternoon. Thankfully, a truck was in the yard, and the creatures were back on the tower. Tuesday they were not in the yard. Wednesday I took a different route to work. Yesterday morning, not only were the buzzards back on the roof and in the yard, the three “watch dogs” who live there were lying among them. (I’m certain they were wagging a tail or flapping an ear every so often – to avoid becoming buzzard breakfast buffet.) Okay, so I’m finally getting used to this macabre sight. The varmints are starting to push their limits, though. Today they were not only covering the roof and the yard—they were on the highway and in the ditch beside the road. Fearless little creatures they are- they didn’t even offer to fly away until my car almost hit them! Then they swooped up into the sky, swarming around my car. It was a classic Alfred Hitchcock moment.
I think I’ll change my route to work.
Happy Birthday to my buzzard-identifying Daddy, who today turns 77!! I love you Dad!