Portents and omens

We went for a walk yesterday. We saw one of these soaring overhead.

One is nice and impressive, but then there was a whole flock of turkey vultures wheeling overhead.

Then they followed us home.

I’m a little afraid to walk over to the lab now, but I must. My dental records are on file at the Dental Depot here in town, in case some skeletal remains need to be identified.


  1. citizenjoe says

    Kettle. Kettling. Vultures riding thermals up are a kettle. Love those words. Perched and discussing which parts are tastiest, they are a ‘committee’, and some other words.

  2. HidariMak says

    Considering how many Trump and QAnon people are still wandering about, perhaps a large flock of turkey vultures isn’t all that bad. Maybe they’re hoping that you lead them to your local grocery store.

  3. R. L. Foster says

    We have a flock of about 50 turkey vultures that call our neighborhood home. They like to perch on our county water tower. Last week when we had a warm-up I was sitting on my back deck around sunset drinking a beer when they all took to the air and started congregating at very low altitude. They flew in one direction in close order and then wheeled about to do it again a few more times. I’m not sure what they were up to. Seeing them against the light of setting sun gave me a thrill. They are such large, graceful birds. I had the sense that this is what a flight of pterosaurs might have looked like 70 million years go.

  4. says

    I have seen these regularly for a few years now in southern Ontario, Can.
    I used to see a lot of soaring majestic hawks in the spring. Now I see the occasional one but the skies are full of carrion eaters instead.
    Sign of the times?

  5. fernando says

    It seems a good omen.

    And you got one more vulture than Remus (i counted 7 vultures in the last photo) so, if you don’y have any twin and you are thinking about founding a new city… maybe now is a good idea!

  6. says

    I saw many of these while hiking in Pinnacles National Park, hoping they were the condors, then a bit disappointed finding out they were a bit more ordinary. We were constantly looking up at them and their flight pattern seemed random, but when we stopped for lunch soon it seemed they were all right above us waiting for us to die. I believe “seemed” is accurate and it was pure chance, or lack of complete data, but OTOH, animals on the ground who stop moving may indeed be lunch. They are spooky.

  7. magistramarla says

    Here next to the Monterey Bay, I see these birds fly over our patio quite often.
    I also see huge red-tailed hawks. There are eagles living just north of my neighborhood, in the Ft. Ord Wildlife Conservation area. They occasionally swoop through, usually in pairs. I can recognize them by their distinct calls.
    Condors live in the Big Sur forest just south of us, but I’ve never seen one. They were sadly affected by an arson-set fire last fall. I think that the survivors are still there.
    My cat loves to sit in the window overlooking our patio, and when one of these predatory “cat-eating” birds swoops low over the patio, she goes tearing to the other end of the house – puffed up and terrified. None of our cats have any desire to venture outside!

  8. Daniel Storms says

    I’m always enthralled by how graceful they are in flight. They soar and glide with hardly a flap of the wing, just the occasional adjustment of a feathery “finger.” I have seen upwards of 40-50 gathering on the gables and in the trees of a local building. That the building houses a family medical practice makes it a fit subject for a Gahan Wilson or Charles Addams cartoon.

  9. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 pgarayt
    I live near a small village in South Eastern Ontario. Every year as the snow melts there are 30-40 or more turkey vultures circling the village. The first time I noticed it I was a bit leary of going in.

  10. chesapeake says

    I saw a turkey vulture feeding on something in my back yard. They really are ugly up close. I stepped out with my video camera and yelled “Get thee back into the tempest and the night’s Plutonian shore” where-up-on he flew off very gracefully.
    I didn’t finish the quote “take thy beak from out my heart and
    Take thy form from off my door.”

  11. publicola says

    Rick @7: I thought I could hear them singing, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye”.

  12. komarov says

    We get a lot of crows around my flat. They used to perch on the frame of my diagonal (roof) window and stare down at me for a bit. Probably checking if I was still alive or if the time had finally come to push the window open and help themselves to my juicy eyeballs. Either they’ve lost patience or they found a more reliable source of eyeballs.

    An aside: You Americans have a “Dental Depot”? Suddenly I get where the trope of being afraid of the dentist comes from. It sounds like some awful mix of factory/assembly line and DIY dentistry. The place you go to with a mate and have them do the procedure on you by watching a video in the style of a hardware store infomercial. “With the dentorex high-torque diamond-tipped power drill (TM) (R), removing plaque has never been easier. Start by installing the patentend jaw restraint, which can be done in just six easy steps. (Video skips steps) Next, ….”