Our neighborhood had a new clan move in this winter. A large flock of 30 plus turkey vultures, who have been moving from rooftop to rooftop and roosting in backyard trees. I can occasionally spot them on the branches of a dead pine tree in my backyard, and hear them rustling on my chimney in the morning. Occasionally they take up watch on our main road, two on each rooftop, dark sentinels watching us all drive by.
Dispite their imposing presence, they are completely harmless. At least, that’s what the experts on the internet keep telling me every time I google “Do vultures eat pets?” or “Do vultures ever attack? ” I keep checking for one reason. These birds are not scared of people. They are not skittish at all, actually, unlike the red tailed hawks and barred owls that swoop away whenever I get too close during an evening walk.
I’m assured that turkey vultures, who comprise the majority of the group, will never attack living animal. However, I’ve noticed a few black vultures lurking within their ranks. Black vultures occasionally corner a slow or sick animal if they are hungry enough.
We seem to have an uneasy truce with them. I have to admit that backing out of my garage and finding 30 large black birds sunning on my roof is a little unnerving. But they are a necessary part of our ecosystem, and their behavior is fascinating. I’m always trying to figure out why they will choose one house to gather at on a given day. They seem to have the ability to appear out of nowhere soundlessly, and then disappear just as quietly a few minutes later.