I have one of those giant useless tufts of grass in my front yard. It was there when I bought the place and it grows back every year, so that also explains why I still have it. It pretty much requires no maintenance, nor does it appeal to the local fauna for much of anything more than as a spot of protective cover between two more important places. So clearly you can see why I keep the thing. Nothing much happens with it. That is, until the other day…
As I am sort of waking (I’m extremely slow at it) up I hear my wife open the blinds next to me and then say, “What the hell is that?! Is that a groundhog? No, that’s a bird. Is that a bird?! What the hell is that?!” That last one was finally enough to get even me out of bed to look out the window.
As I looked straight down out of my window on my giant tuft of useless Suess-grass, I saw a big, brown feathered something sticking out from underneath it. It was just lying there with its front end into the base of the grass with it’s ass sticking out. The amount of body I could see indicated that it was easily larger than a duck. The only birds in this left in this area of New England large enough to still fit the bill were going to be either waterfowl, or raptors.
So I went downstairs to get a closer look, but in order to do so I had to open a door, and unfortunately that made enough noise for the bird to skedaddle. But not before I saw the tail and one giant wing open up as it took flight and headed off around a bunch of bushes and trees out of my line of sight. To the best of my limited knowledge, and based on the size of the talon marks it left behind in the bark mulch (below), there is only one bird in the area that it could have been.
But why the hell was it laying in my bush?! Contrary to what my kid’s think, I really do move enough to be considered a living thing by scavengers.
After reading a lot of stuff written by a bunch of smart people I have concluded that it was, well… sleeping I guess. And I am not even 100% sure I am right about that, but it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility after what I have read.
While not necessarily their go-to, according to All About Birds by TheCornellLab “Turkey Vultures nest in rock crevices, caves, ledges, thickets, mammal burrows and hollow logs, fallen trees, abandoned hawk or heron nests, and abandoned buildings.”
So, here is my question finally: Does this mean turkey vultures just occasionally fall down and pass out in the nearest bush like Otis The Town Drunk?