February 29, 2016 |
Our question of the day is this: Why are there so many turkey vultures running around South Jersey? These actually are turkey vultures, Cathartes aura, not the black vultures that have reportedly been moving up to these parts from areas farther south recently. Turkey vultures are sometimes called "carrion crows" (they eat dead things) or buzzards, but the result is the same: They climb on car roofs and porches, and they get sick and leave droppings just about everywhere. They also are called "nature's garbage collectors" and may have been attracted by the carcasses of rabbits and squirrels left by the numerous foxes that have appeared here in the last year or so. The Audubon Society's field guide says the vultures, unlike other birds, have a sense of smell that allows them to detect carrion odor.
July 18, 2000 |
Debbie Wamstall showed up because she likes horror movies, and nothing can top the real thing. Andrew Hiles came because he is 6. Although the bug and snake walks had been swell, the chance to see real bones, dead bodies and other gory stuff was irresistible. And Gay Overdevest? She was the instigator, leading what has to be the oddest nature walk in the area - a search for turkey vultures, those eaters of the dead and decomposing. "You guys," she told her audience approvingly, "have to be as morbid and gross as I am. " Most nature walks focus on the planet's prettier side - butterflies, wildflowers, songbirds.
February 12, 2013 |
Kay Schuh has a dead vulture hanging in her backyard and is grateful for it. Until the bird was strung up last month by a federal wildlife biologist, Schuh's Mount Holly neighborhood had been taken over by what some see as vandals of the sky. For about nine winters, the pine trees in her backyard have hosted an increasing number of roosting vultures. "The smell is horrible," Schuh said. "You can see [droppings] all over our bushes and our shed in the back. " Schuh, mother of three, said her family routinely has had to clean dog Jake's feet before letting him in after a trip to the yard.
January 3, 1991 |
Like the residents who chose Orchard Hills for its tall trees, its sweeping lawns, its near-rural solitude, turkey vultures also value their privacy. Perhaps, then, it shouldn't be surprising that a flock of them once again has made the upscale, suburban subdivision its winter roost. Still, pride of place doesn't quite explain the presence of buzzards in residential Upper Providence, Delaware County. "In my experience it's unusual for them to roost in a suburban development like this," says Walt Thurber of Media, an Audubon Society member.
November 30, 1989 |
It's like something out of a Hitchcock movie. Vultures. In Upper Providence. Ruth Bretz first spotted them last winter. They were perched in the dense pine trees near her home on Pin Oak Road. By winter's end they had left. Then this fall . . . This fall . . . They're baaaack. "Did you ever see Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds? When they fly over it sure makes you think of that," Bretz said of a flock of nearly two dozen vultures that have recently taken up residence in her neighborhood.
March 1, 2006 |
Vultures have always had an image problem. The finest public-relations firm in the country would have a hard time rebuilding their image. So enthusiasts in Wenonah have decided to do the job themselves. On Saturday, Wenonah will host the first Gloucester County Vulture Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Community Center. The event will feature vulture poetry, music and informational presentations. About 100 vultures have wintered in Wenonah the last four years. Ninety percent are turkey vultures.
April 8, 1997 |
Forget about the swallows at Capistrano. Buzzards have decided to roost here along the Perkiomen Creek. To the annoyance of borough officials and residents, the fowl - also known as turkey vultures - have made their homes atop pine trees and two light-green water towers. Up to 100 buzzards hover over borough and creek. They damage the trees, breaking branches when they push off for flight, and their droppings have started to corrode the paint on the water towers, leaving streaks of rust.
December 22, 1991 |
Standing on a bluff 80 feet above the Pacific Ocean, with a view that stretched forever, shirtless, ponytailed Dan Deuel was having a few of his daily close encounters of the furred kind. He was feeding three California harbor seal pups, ridiculously cute, amazingly soft animals, totally oblivious to the fact that they were rolling around in their own poop. As they sunned themselves on their backs, eyes closed and flippers held close to their sides, they looked like cuddly, stuffed slugs.
February 7, 2006 |
The buzzards are back in Wenonah - and some folks think it's about time they had a festival. "Look alive!" is the motto. On such a note, organizers had planned on ordering a cake shaped like a roadkill opossum, but thought better of it. "We decided to go with more conventional food," said Richard Dilks of the Wenonah Environmental Commission, an organizer of the Gloucester County Vulture Festival. Scheduled for March 4 at the Wenonah Community Center, the event, featuring music, poetry, and a presentation by a bird enthusiast, will celebrate what has been for some a source of annoyance and even consternation.
February 4, 2006 |
A woman, an armchair, a viola: Laurie Anderson's The End of the Moon is a stripped-down, 90-minute performance art piece about time, space, fear, regret and the notion that "life itself is just bad art. " Anderson floated the latter idea - that the real world is full of "jumbled characters, who disappear without warning / And too many writers, working all night" - from the candlelit stage of the Prince Music Theater Thursday, the first of three...