Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Haunted Perceptions of Nature's Creatures Scary Climate

Turkey Vultures Cathartes aura (cleansing breeze) soaring high in the air are quite beautiful and majestic with a wing span of over six feet. They are intelligent and extremely important in preventing the spread of disease. Friends to farmers and gas utility workers alike for cleaning up dead carcasses and locating gas leaks, the Turkey Vulture's role in our ecosystem is unique and valued thus protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. 
Still many find these vital carrion consumers repulsive and even harbor haunting notions of fear regarding them. In fact they rarely kill live animals, are non-aggressive and can become fond of humans . . . while still alive. I read of a story about a young boy, who had an enduring endearing relationship with a Turkey Vulture that would walk along with him to his school bus each day and when the bus drove off the vulture would fly off to hunt for food, returning to meet the boy in the afternoon. 
Perhaps their bright red faces are not classically beautiful, but they can boast being equipped with the largest olfactory organ found in any animal perusing air or land. They have good eye sight as well, making them well equipped for finding dead animals . . .  if conditions are right . . . within a twelve mile range soon after their demise. We all save tax dollars by not having to pay workers for the removal of road kill. Purification has been a symbol and synonym throughout many cultures in classifying these raptors. Vultures cannot call out or sing lovely trills, for they have no voice box. These gentle birds must get by communicating in hisses and grunts or if they feel threatened they may hurl 'vomit' towards any intruder. Admittedly when I listen to this hiss I do find it a bit spooky. 
Pumpkins along with some fruit and vegetation are also acceptable to their palate.  
I enjoyed watching several Turkey Vultures this spring as they gracefully glided above Flower Hill Farm each morning. I had never seen them come so close . . . at times only ten or twenty feet above where I stood camera in hand. 
There are those that have a great fondness for Turkey Vultures and you can learn a good deal from visiting their site. 

What I find really scary is the climate! I was out during the storm shaking shrubs and small trees to release snow . . . luckily there is not much damage here, but down in the valley where more trees had leaves there were hundreds of limbs and trees down on power lines.
After digging out of the epic October snow storm and enjoying the return of power . . . I do so appreciate running water and not having to read with a flashlight . . . I ponder the oddity of a landscape wearing green and colorful leaves, while beneath the canopies . . .  thrown far and wide . . .  rests a two-foot pile high snow carpet.

Watch out below! Avalanches of heavy snow fall fast from the roofs. 

After a morning of sunshine the landscape begins to look almost normal . . . until you look down.

The warmer days are melting the snow and hopefully before the weeks end the white carpet will melt into the earth as 'poor man's fertilizer.' This overdose may intoxicate the plants and trees! 
Our perceptions of what Autumn brings here in Western Massachusetts and beyond are forever changed as our climate surprises and haunts us with what may yet come. This was our second snow storm in October . . . a month that had not seen accumulations of snow in one hundred years. Very freaky storms . . . especially this last one.
Let's all act towards thinning our carbon footprint in our daily lives and demand that our leaders stop wasting time and money developing dirty energy. 
Please Call the White House today and say NO to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Why not encourage more investment in green energy too! 


Country Gal said...

Wonderful post and photos. We have hundreds of Turkey Vultures here in our area they are quite strange but magnificent birds. Have a wonderful day.

Mark and Gaz said...

Haunting images Carol. So much snow so early in the cold season, hopefully it all melts soon. We all must do our bit in reducing our carbon footprint and helping the environment.

sandy said...

You got a lot more snow that we did here, along the coast in Maine. The light looks the same though. I love the shot with the leaves in the snow.

rkbsnana said...

So much I did not know or even think about turkey vultures. Your snow pictures are lovely albeit a bit more than I really care to have.
Take care.

Helen said...

Thanks for the info on turkey vultures, Carol. Fascinating creatures. Happy that things are getting a little closer to normal again for you. What a crazy year for weather!

Ruben said...

Stunning photos as usual, but of course we don´t want this kind of weather.

Have a nice day!

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

We have lots of Turkey Vultures at our place. They like to sit on my neighbors roof and watch life going on below. Amazing all the snow you received!

Andrea said...

Such clear beautiful photos. We don't have vultures but we have eagles! It's surely early for your snow, just a post ago you still don't have it, now it looks like real winter. Maybe because we don't have it, i find it very beautiful. That structure with white hair is amusing, but i wonder who owns those footprints around it. Lastly, i think it is US having the highest per capita consumption of fossil fuel, and the highest producer of Ozone decaying chemicals. How tragic!

Lona said...

All this snow already is spooky indeed. LOL! It is beautiful to look at Carol but I am just not ready for that white stuff to come. There should be a law somewhere where it is not allowed to snow until all the leaves are down and raked. LOL! The pictures of the buzzard in flight are so pretty.

Gillian Olson said...

Great pictures and interesting story about the turkey vulture. Glad you are thawing out after the early snowfall.

Darla said...

We have tons of Turkey Vultures here. Did you also know that hey are really clean birds and they do not have feathers on their heads so when the shove their face in a carcass the bacteria does not cling to the feathers. They also have something on the ends of their feathers for bacteria as well. We do not get snow here, but it seems strange to be seeing snow photos on blogs already. Beautiful photos.

jeansgarden said...

Carol, You really got socked with snow in western Massachusetts. Has it gotten warm enough this week for much of it to melt? We only had 2-3" in Gettysburg, and even so there are still patches of it on the ground. I'm headed up to Maine this weekend, so I'll have an opportunity to see just how much snow there was/is at my house there. I hope this was just a false start to winter and not the real thing! -Jean

Eva said...

Thank you for including the link for phoning the president. I signed the online petition, but the phone call takes more effort, and you've made it easy. Freaky, indeed! It will be a Hallowe'en to remember. Also, I appreciate knowing more about the vultures. I will look at them now, with a more generous attitude.

joey said...

Wow! Lots of early snow. This has happened here in the past too but so far, so good. And your photos, lovely. We have lots of turkey vultures too ... not the handsomest birds but 'good guys'!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Good luck with the campaign against the pipeline.

They're drilling for shale gas in the UK and France!!!

Carol those images of the vulture are beautiful. I love the story of the boy and the bird.

Brits always say they do things bigger in the states, it seems you do them earlier too. October snow, climate behave!

debsgarden said...

Carol, I can't believe you have already had so much snow! Here, it seems that just yesterday it was summer!

And I have to admit the turkey vulture hiss does sound like something out of a horror film! Poor birds need a good press agent. Thanks for the information about them.

Otonio. said...

Excelentes fotos!.

Muy buenas.

Un abrazo

Sarah Laurence said...

Absolutely gorgeous images of an ugly bird! They look more like paintings than photos. You got harder hit than we did by the storm. I love the red maple leaves on snow photo. Sorry to be so late to visit. I haven’t had much time online lately. I'm actually looking forward to quiet winter nights.

Sheryl said...

Great photos! I especially liked the turkey vulture information and photos. When I was a child we had lots of turkey vultures, but I haven't seen one in years. In some strange way, I miss those ugly birds.

Alistair said...

Fascinating stuff on the turkey vultures, enjoyed the image in my mind of the bird following the boy to school. Such heavy snow so early in the season, good opportunity for great pictures though.

Carol I am adding a picture of your garden and a link to your blog on my (Your Gardens) page, do let me know if you would rather have it removed. alistair

Barbarapc said...

Anytime I've got someone I want to play a spooky trick on I'm going to play that wonderful Turkey Vulture hiss. There are a pair that fly over the creek here in Oakville - because of their size you can spot them from our house which is over a kilometre away. I can't believe your snow. That is just plain wrong. We've been blessed with November weather that probably rightfully belonged to you in October 60F, sunny - just grand, but again, very weird.

Anja said...

Kära Carol!

Climate change is frightening indeed. The strange thing is that those in power cares more about profits than about the environment.
Despite the scary your surroundings are very beautiful right now.

Kram, Anja

easygardener said...

I think hiss is too mild a word for that sound. I'm intrigued by a bird with no voice box - given that calling is such a vital means of communication for most birds.
As to the weather...we will never take it for granted again, wherever we live!

sweetbay said...

Those colorful leaves on top of the snow are gorgeous, but it's too bad so many were still on the trees!

I heard on the radio the other day that with the current improvement and cost reduction in solar power technology, that if the amount of money that the government gave to coal mining operations instead went to solar, solar power could be a major player and a lot of people could afford it.

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