Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ugly Beauty

No one was more surprised than myself when I looked out the window into our back yard on Saturday, just after noon. I saw several large crows gathered around a large brownish “blob” in the yard. Looking closer I could see the brown blob was a very large bird—oh my—a turkey vulture! I ran for the camera and tried to quietly sneak out onto the deck.

There were two of them. One had its wings spread wide, just sitting on the ground; the other was busy eating something. I tried my best to be quiet, but they heard me and took flight. One flew into the woods, the other perched in our big oak at the edge of the yard and allowed me take some photos. After the vulture left, I went down to see what was so interesting. It had been pecking away at the marrow in one of the old dog bones!

I know most people think they are ugly with their featherless, naked heads, but they have a beauty all their own. You’ve got to admit they are awesome. Just look at that wing span!

I found this poem to go along with my images. I hope you enjoy it!

Turkey Vulture
by CB Follett

Black leather wings
spread to dry in the early sun,
they perch on fences like great bat-birds.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The naked rubber head: red, wrinkled.
Eyes piercing as Picasso’s,
tearing beak, their ripping claws.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

But when they fly,
when they launch themselves
like a single feather

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

into thermals curved as the hills below
when they glide,
controlling the wind

by the least shift of their weight
when they soar and begin
the open spiral that fuels their search,

they are air creatures
beautiful black sweeps across the sky
efficient, spectral, superb.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey



gosh you are lucky! i saw some great big vultures in nepal up in the himalaya once. i was stunned at their size! ugly beauties indeed
have a lovely weekend

Awesome- yes! But perhaps because I am not a member of a scavenger type species, I can’t see the beauty in these guys, except when they’re flying.

Fabulous pics, though! Your blog could be called “Lynne’s Wild Kingdom.” Keep ‘em coming!

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