Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Talking About Turkey Vultures

I wrote a post a couple of days ago about black vultures. One of the comments was that turkey vultures aren't here in Wichita Falls in the winter.

But what is winter in Wichita Falls? I was brought up in Indiana and although I haven't lived there in 30 years, I still tend to have winter in my brain as November - February and for birds, winter is more like Sep/Oct - Mar/Apr. However, winter is more truncated here. The birds start moving south in the fall and meander through Texas later (sometimes weeks later) than their northern departure. In the spring, they again pass through Texas moving northward earlier than they arrive up north.

Today I was driving home after dropping my daughter at the DFW airport and guess what? Turkey vultures! I had been to Plano (between Dallas and Ft Worth, to the north) on the 16th and did not see any TV's the entire trip. Today, I saw large flocks in Denton County, some in Wise County, and one or two birds in Montague. None in Clay or Wichita, but the birds appear to be moving this way--I expect they'll be coming in within the next day or two.

So I had to check the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club checklist for our area. It is not just Wichita County, but close enough. It shows the TV common and abundant most of the year and uncommon over the winter. So I guess occasionally the birds do hang out here over the winter and I just haven't noticed them previously. But regardless, they seem to be moving this way as we speak, so spring appears to be closer than I think (I don't think of January as spring--but then the buds are swelling on the Bradford pear tree next door, so what do I know?)

Good birding!

1 comment:

Jim Miller said...

Somehow it seems fitting that the avian harbinger of spring's arrival on the Rolling Plains would be a turkey vulture!