Sunday, May 16, 2010

Turkey Vulture

I’m used to seeing big birds in the yard, but not Turkey Vultures. I noticed this one sitting at the edge of the field, looking into the tall grass. I wondered what it might be after and then remembered throwing out some bad fish a couple of days earlier.

The fish was the target. It pulled the fillet into the yard before beginning to eat. I was surprised the fish was still there. Usually the skunks or opossums or raccoons or dogs eat the scraps the first night they’re available. The fish had been out there through two nights.

The Turkey Vulture returned several times through the day. Its preferred perch was my electronic rain gauge. I have three rain gauges; two standard cylinder types with gradations marked on the side and one electronic type that transmits the readings into the house. The two standard gauges always match rainfall amounts. The electronic gauge tends to register odd readings. I wonder why that might be.

That big foot jammed down in the rain collection bowl can’t be good on the mechanism. Each time the bird returned, it landed on the rain gauge before dropping down to the ground for more fish.

That’s an old rain gauge with an outer casing made of plastic. I’m glad the force of the landings and take offs didn’t cause any cracking. The fish was all gone by evening, so I doubt the Turkey Vulture will be returning.

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