Wednesday, April 19, 2006


It's about 7:00 p.m. in Columbus as I write this. I'm trying to get a leg up on some work that's due very soon, but there are six turkey vultures pacing in front of my office window. They are very distracting, and they make me nervous. As a city boy, I've always bought into Katharine Hepburn's line from The African Queen: "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were placed in this world to rise above."

The bottom of my window is nearly at ground level, and my floor is slightly lower than that, so I'm at eye level with these large, and apparently none-too-bright, birds. Every now and then, one of them bashes his (her? I'm no ornithologist) head into my window, scaring the bejeesus out of me. Then, another one will do a full plumage display, spreading out her (his?) wings to show how tough she (he?) is. Their scrawny yellow talons sink into the freshly-spread fertilizer in the flower bed with each step. But I guess when you're used to eating road kill, nothing really bothers you.

A stupid joke: Seems there was a buzzard getting on an airplane with two dead squirrels. The flight attendant stopped him at the door and said, "I'm sorry, sir. You're only allowed one carrion."


waltc said...

Six turkey vultures. I only got one hawk, flying full-force into the window opposite my cubicle (days ago), head-bashing from time to time just outside. Does someone need to do a thesis on raptors and bibliographic utilities? Or is it raptors and unyoung male bloggers at bibliographic utilities?

And who gets the eagle and the falcon?

Anonymous said...

My first day at OCLC, I was standing a foot away from my window (on the 2nd floor), looking out at our wee, man-made, corporate-lovely lake, yakking on the phone... and from about 2-o'clock high came whizzing into my view... said turkey vulture. It air-braked to its full 6' wingspan about a yard from my face, shot me a, "You're not too big to eat, Chump!" look, and swirled down to (I guess) pester George down below.

When I recovered enough to peer outside and down, I saw that it was congregating with two of its like... again, now I suppose they were stalking Mr. Needham. At the time, they seemed, to me, to be doing a kinda loose rhumba.

We've since posted a picture of a female turkey vulture in my office, facing the window. The males see her from afar, swoop in at speed, and impact my plexi at 30+ mph. The ringing sound (spatwaang!) can be heard all the way down the hall from Creative Services into the Library Services area. When we hear that sound, we know that "Deadly Impact" has been made, and we all rush down stairs with forks and other implements of destruction, bar-b-q sauce, napkins and buns.

Turns out... turkey vulture is durn good eatin! And we have to save George from a major cardiac event. It's us against nature, after all.

Michael A. Golrick said...

Well, I won't comment about the fauna here (but I did post to an "old fashioned" electronic discussion list about the local monk parrots today). I will comment about the joke:


Anonymous said...

First a turkey in Michael Stephens' old haunt, and now turkey vultures outside your office...sounds like a conspiracy to me.

Incidentally, your first link has a file:// rather than an http:// in front of it.