Wednesday, October 28, 2009

i'm not dead -- yet

The shadow blocked out the sun -- just for a moment. The type of shadow that causes rabbits and iguanas to freeze.

And then a swoop and a shape. As if Bruce Wayne's alter ego was about to alight in my back yard.

My first reaction was that it was one of the eagles I see occasionally -- out searching for a bit of breakfast. But I had never seen one flying at balcony level.

It pulled up, stalled, and alit in the neighbor's coconut palm.

When I pulled out my binoculars. I was surprised to be looking directly into the eye of a Turkey Vulture -- what we country folk in Powers would call a "buzzard." (If you click on the photograph, you can enlarge it to see the distinctive head -- the turkey portion of the name.)

Within a minute three others joined him in the same tree.

Now, I don't know how you were raised. But where I come from, buzzards are not considered to be a pleasant sign -- nor a subtle one.

I had to do a bit of research to discover the cultural impact of the Black Witch moth (
son of the witch). I didn't need research to know why the vultures were around.

Or I thought not.

My first reaction was that there must be something dead on the beach -- and they were simply waiting for the coast to clear. But they perched there all morning. I looked for myself to be certain that some poor soul was not dragging himself across the sand in search of water. Nada.

Eliminating the obvious, I started wondering if the vultures could sense my recent spike in blood pressure. But they obviously had no interest in me as I stood on the balcony snapping photographs. They wouldn't even close up like good tourists for their group beach shot.

But I came to the conclusion that is what they were: tourists. They had come to enjoy the pleasures of a sunny day at the beach. And they did.

After sunning themselves for about three hours, they simply disappeared -- as quickly and quietly as they came.

Several business owners in town have told me the tourist trade has been dead the past few weeks.

I think I now have proof that they are correct.


norm said...

The birds were eating/looking for fish that had washed up on the beach. They are very common on Lake Erie, coasting along, looking for a free meal at the beach. I had a group of them looking me over one day at Mayapan but they flew away when I got to the bottom on those Way too steep stairs...

Julian in SC said...

I don't really "like" buzzards but when we went to the Belize Zoo they had several there and one actually "posed" with his wings outspread facing away from us and this bird had beautiful feathers. More a golden dark brown than the more black / dark dark brown we have up here in the Carolinas. I don't remember the specific type vulture it was but I was really impressed...

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Aww I loved those back home! :) It was always a MYSTERY to be solved when the buzzards came circling around - what's dead?? :P I like the way they look and that doofy way the hop around a carcass (morbid much?)

Anyhoo glad to hear they weren't hanging around in premonition to your demise. :P

Islagringo said...

If your conclusion is correct, then our streets should be lined with vultures. Oh wait. They are!

Steve Cotton said...

Norm -- That was my first impression, as well. But they did not leave their perch during that period. Maybe that is the life of turkey vultures. Sitting and waiting -- like a time share salesman.

Julian -- They are magnificent birds. I have a much better closeup, but I wanted to get all four in my post.

Gringa-n-Mexico -- If they were waiting for me to keel over, I managed to outwait them anothr day.

Islagringo -- Good one.

Anonymous said...

What mean buzzing buzzards overhead?
I'll tell you what!
That somethings dead --
good times, bad times, no times, friends.
Something's surely met its end.
But buzzing buzzards have their way
and having stripped the flesh of death,
they fly away,
making space for life to grow.
When they'll return, you cannot know.

A Nony Moose

glorv1 said...

Ha ha ha. That was funny what Isla said. The way I see it, even ugly creatures have to eat. Boy, you have a lot of funky stuff over there;DDDD Have a great Thursday. bye now.

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Mike and I have seen them at the south end of Salem's Riverfront Park, as we were looking over a guard rail...perched on a stretch of land. LOTS of them. They must have been "lunching" at the river.

Anonymous said...

Very funny post! LOL....

I especially liked, "Eliminating the obvious, I started wondering if the vultures could sense my recent spike in blood pressure."

Thanks for the good laugh.

And stop being morbid. You and "Felipe" have both now posted on death in the last couple of says.

Enjoy the day.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we are inordinately fond of a Mexican musical group called Los Buitres de Culican Sinaloa. Probably the only gringo who feels that way. Or who has even heard of them.

Anonymous said...

I want to hear about the roller coaster ride....

jennifer rose said...

If you lived closer to a Walmart, you could've bought the Halloween underwear now being sold, danced on your balcony, and perhaps attracted the buzzards' attention. Then, maybe not.

Steve Cotton said...

ANM -- Poetry in motion?

Gloria -- The vultures are almost as fascinating as the iguanas. I live in a zoo.

Cynthia and Mike -- It was almost like being in Salem. Except for the sun. And the ocean. And the palm trees.

Kim -- Death is but another aspect of our lives.

Anonymous -- I suspect what has been said has been said.

Jennifer -- Then I truly could be part of this eclectic culture in which I live.

Suzanne Marie Bandick said...

Great Story Steve! I am happy to have discovered your blog.

Steve Cotton said...

Suzanne -- And I am happy to have you on board as a reader -- and commenter.