Interesting birds, buzzards. I’ve seen them soaring aloft for most of my life but never in the numbers I have since moving to my current home. I remember hearing about the buzzards circling over something dying from the old westerns like “Gunsmoke“, “Paladin”, which it appears was actually called “Have Gun Will Travel“, “Bonanza“. I knew it was how you could find someone who had wandered off and was in peril from either “Sea Hunt“, “High Noon“, or “Lassie“…maybe from all of them.
Our first summer here, I was outside one beautiful spring day mowing the grass. I was on the riding lawnmower when something caught my attention from my peripheral vision. I glanced across the yard and street and there, above the neighbor’s house, was this dark cloud. It stopped me in my tracks! I know anyone driving past probably got quite a kick out of the old woman on the “John Deere” with her head back, mouth hanging wide open. Come to think of it, I’m rather surprised no one called an ambulance thinking I’d gone catatonic. Anyway….up above the neighbor’s house, just kitty-corner from me, was an airborne black spiral. My mind couldn’t even discern what it was for a few moments (are we entering stroke territory here?) it looked like a black tornado of quite some height. Buzzards! Hundreds of buzzards! They were flying, or more accurately, floating in lazy circles stacked upon one another in ever larger circles (like a tornado) and there were so many of them, the sky was black. I can only guess the number must have been around 300 to create such a sight.
I sat, mesmerized, wasting gas, adding unnecessary toxins into the air from the exhaust, too stunned to even think to turn off the key. That, for those who know me, is very unlike me. I really try not to add to my carbon footprint and I try to shrink it wherever I can. Just trying to give you an idea of how incredible this sight was. Since then, the Buzzards visit me twice daily during the summer months. I learned that they are migratory birds after seeing that huge amassing in the fall as well.
But this took place over the summer months, at first it kind of creeped me out. But as I grew to enjoy watching those birds wafting in their lazy circles overhead I began to grow curious about these creatures. Sometimes I had only three birds whom I rapidly began to think of as my “core” family of birds. Often, there are 30-plus floating overhead. Several other people have happened to be here and witness this phenomena and they were equally awestruck…but with only 30-50 birds. It seems no one is ever here the day those numbers soar to multiple hundreds. And THAT, my friends, is a truly amazing sight.
As the phenomenon continued, it began to impress upon me that there must be something special about the area where I live. Well, something even more special about it than I was aware of. It took me almost 20 years to move to this area even after I had been visiting the nearby town and working here, it was a while before we actually made the move here. I have always felt the air here was different, magical, like there were some sort of vortex here. (I don’t really even know what a “vortex” is, except it sounds really cool.)
ORIGINmid 17th cent.: from Latin vortex, vortic-, literally ‘eddy,’ variant of vertex.RELATED FORMS