For the past three winters, a committee of vultures has been gathering in the trees behind my house.
They arrive early each morning, quietly huddling in a grove of pine trees bordering the backyard. They stare out silently, occasionally jostling on the branches, and then leave after about an hour. The cycle repeats again each evening.
There are about 30-40 birds in the group, although once they land on the trees, they are barely perceptible. Why they choose to gather in this spot twice a day has been a mystery. They don’t seem to be searching for food or being territorial, but the daily gatherings are a ritual nonetheless.