Wednesday, March 25, 2009
What would you do if—having spent the night sleeping in a tree—you’d just got up feeling a bit stiff, and perhaps not quite yet in the mood to go cruising at high altitude in search of a bite of something recently dead for breakfast? Well, if you were a wise buzzard, you’d know nothing beats a good sunbathing session to loosen old bones and help a bird to get moving. The morning sun feels mighty good—especially in spring when the night air still hold a decided chill and it takes more than a yawn and a guttural greeting grunt from fellow roost mates to set things right. The answer is to flap across the river to a handy tall snag located directly in the early sunlight’s path, find a comfortable spot in the very top branches, and spread your wings like a week’s laundry as you warm and wait for the batteries to recharge….ahh-h-h. Actually, this quirky behavior may also help dry out any dampness in the turkey vulture’s feathers, while improving the bird’s health and hygiene by baking off a few billion bacteria. Some mornings there may be a dozen or two vultures scattered throughout this particular treetop, all with wings spread wide. Yesterday, however, it was just this lone bird who, not having to vie with other sunbathing mates, got to command the premier spot.