Buzzards

Buzzards and clowns. You read my silly clown stories. Now I have three buzzard stories for your entertainment on this 913th day of quarantine. Or, whatever day it is. I have no idea.

My first buzzard story took place as I was driving down the road toward Bell Union. An animal had been hit on the road and a few buzzards were enjoying lunch. As I got closer they all flew off except for one greedy bird who waited until the last minute. Last minute didn’t give him enough time to get his bearings straight and he flew right into the corner of my windshield on the driver’s side. Scared me! He was so big. Luckily, there wasn’t any damage to my car, but I’m positive that he didn’t fair as well because it was a hard hit for him. I’m pretty sure his friends enjoyed him later. Ahhh…the circle of life.

http://www.istockphoto.com

This second story took place when my youngest was less than a year old. She is eighteen now.

Once upon a time we lived in the woods, way out in the country, and we had a long, hilly driveway. Once you turned into the driveway from the road, you would proceed down the hill and then up a larger one to the circle drive up by the house. It was a great hill for sledding on snowy, winter days but that’s another blog. On this particular summer day though, I picked up my little one and headed out to get the mail. I carried her down the big hill and then up past the orchard to the road. We got the mail and headed back down the hill. We got to the bottom of the hill when…snap!! I rolled my ankle in a deep rut in the gravel and down we both went. I held Mattea close and somehow she didn’t hit the ground. My ankle felt bad. I heard it snap. I got Mattea to sit on the driveway as I laid there on my back. I couldn’t move. She was all giggly thinking this was great fun that mommy was on the ground with her. I didn’t share in her joy as I was almost sick to my stomach from the pain. And I certainly didn’t want to look at my ankle. So I didn’t move. No one would have been able to hear me yell as they were in the house and a distance from where we were. I remember thinking that one of my sons would be coming home after 1:00 and it was just a little after noon when I went to get the mail. I thought I could just lie there until he came home. Mattea patted me and played with rocks until one of cats found us. Then she played with the cat. While lying on my back, staring at the intense blue sky above, I wondered if I broke my ankle and if I could walk. Then I noticed in the clearing above and between the trees, directly over us, a buzzard began circling.

http://www.istockphoto.com

Not sure how long I laid there but it was for a period of time and that bird didn’t leave. I continued to watch him circling. I remember half mumbling, “I’m not dead yet!” And then I wondered if he might be eyeing my baby girl. Or the cat. But I thought they only ate dead things so I figured he was just waiting for me to die. I noticed the intense throbbing in my ankle had started to subside some and I decided to try to stand. It hurt a great deal but I was able to pick up my little girl, and the mail, and I hobbled up the hill to the house. That bird followed us the whole way just waiting for me to drop. Not today, buddy. Not today. Once inside the house, I nursed my badly sprained ankle.

My last buzzard story happened a few years ago when I was a runner. This is a slightly edited version of what I wrote that day.

I went for a run at the nature park tonight. I ran around the ridge of the gravel pit, then went down to the bottom–which is quite comparable to a desert, especially on this very warm evening. It was even warmer down there. Hot, actually. If you have an overly active imagination like mine, you might think the terrain resembles the surface of a mostly barren planet. It is basically one color (tan) with scattered rocks, crevices, water holes, and a few shrubbery.

taken from the upper ridge
on a cooler day
April, 2014
another view from the ridge
April 2014

As I was running, I happened to notice three buzzards circling overhead, and by the time I passed the halfway mark, I counted 16 buzzards circling me with another fast approaching from the west. Then out of nowhere, an 18th buzzard swooped down low from the ridge of the canyon. This was odd feeling knowing that 18 buzzards were watching…and waiting.

http://www.istockphoto.com

Have you ever seen a buzzard up close? It’s big and ugly, with a red head, and a strong beak designed for shredding flesh.

a face only a mother could love
http://www.istockphoto.com

Random thoughts began to fill my head. Am I limping, wounded, or bleeding and I don’t realize it? Did I step in something, um…nasty? Is some wild animal chasing me that I am unaware of? Do I smell delicious? (Buzzards have a great smeller and I am nearing the end of a long, hot, sweaty run.) Am I so large that 18 buzzards think they can all feed on me? How rude! Whatever it was about me that attracted them, I feel pretty certain they were planning a barbie in the desert tonight. But, thankfully, rule #1 in the buzzard world: “No Partaking of Food While Food is Still Running”. So I kept running. And I kept my pepper spray handy just in case a crazed bird tried to take me down. Well, I did make it through the canyon in one piece and those birds dispersed once I came up out of the wasteland. How weird was that? I think I like the wooded trails better. Juss sayin’.

me, on the upper ridge
overlooking a portion of the trail I ran
that day of the buzzards
2013

I did a little research after writing this and I learned that the turkey buzzard is actually a turkey vulture. And sometimes they do take down weak or wounded animals. Yikes. It’s head is featherless. Do you know why? So the feathers don’t get all gunked up when it sticks it’s head inside of a carcass. Gross. They serve a purpose though, by cleaning up dead things, therefore, stopping the spread of disease in animals and people. Everything does have a purpose. Even turkey buzzards. I’m just glad I didn’t stop to tie my shoe or rest on one of those Martian rocks.

you can see a portion of the trail I ran
on that particular day, and where the path leads up
and out of the gravel pit
that’s where the birds finally dispersed
2013

Those are my buzzard stories. Hopefully, they entertained you for a few minutes anyway. Thank you for reading my stuff. I really really enjoy writing and if only one person enjoys what I write, well…that’s just awesome to me. Thank you.

Enjoy the coffee! ♥️

Andi

Some photos I used in this blog are royalty free from http://www.istockphoto.com.

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