Friday, August 13, 2010

Stalking the Elusive Turkey Vulture

For the past few weeks when I have been in the area of Kemp Blvd and Midwestern Parkway between 8:30 and 9:00 AM, I have seen large flocks of turkey vultures circling over the area near Barwise Junior High. Easily 30 - 50 birds in a flock. One morning there were 2 flocks circling the area.
Turkey vultures roost in groups. They are not active early and wait for the sun to start heating the atmosphere, creating updrafts in which they can soar all day. Wednesday AM I had a little time so decided to hang out in the Barwise Jr. High parking lot to see if I could refine a roost location. I got some funny looks from the adults with the girls' track team. Possibly because I got caught up in looking for the birds and was stopped in the middle of the parking lot instead of a defined parking space. I didn't notice until people started driving around me, giving me the evil eye.
I could see 3 vultures on the school's roof and noted a couple of birds launching from nearby trees off Maplewood and flying to Barwise around 8:30. Unfortunately, I had to leave for an appointment (work seems to interfere with my birdwatching waaaay too often) so wasn't able to tell much more.
Today I took the day off and headed out for the Maplewood/Barwise area around 8:30 and staked out the area around Hirschi Realtors, across the street from Barwise. There was a roost on the roof of Barwise. I counted as many as 16 turkey vultures perched where I could see them. However, this was not nearly all of the turkey vultures to be seen. As the air heated up, turkey vultures started launching themselves out of trees in the area, but the largest group came from an area northeast of that location, so it looks like I will be out on another surveillance Sunday AM. It appeared that the Barwise/Maplewood area was a "meet up" location before dispersing. If you have any ideas on the location of the second roost, please post a comment.
Good birding!

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