The other day during our drive around the neighborhood, Tim and I were heading down Mission Road and just as we were turning right onto Swaney Road, Tim yelled, “Get your camera out! There’s vultures on the old store!”
I looked over and sure enough, there were a few turkey vultures perched atop the old store on the corner of Brinkman Road. You might remember that I wrote about the history of this iconic building a couple of years ago here. In the days of yore, it was Pearl Hill’s Grocery Store.
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Not only were there turkey vultures on the roof of the store, but there was a whole flock of them flying around Old Mission. We counted 15, but there might have been more. So I hopped out and took a few photos…
The next day, we looked out the window and there was a turkey vulture on the roof of our little shed.
Then, on our way to town yesterday, we spotted another turkey vulture snacking on a deceased raccoon on Center Road just south of the Bluff Road intersection. I would say “quick snack,” but we had to make two runs to town yesterday and he was there both times.
The first time, he waited by the side of the road until the traffic died down and then ventured back to the poor soul he was picking at. The second time, he was perched on the sign right next to it. He really didn’t seem all that deterred by all the cars going by.
I’ve seen turkey vultures here and there on the Old Mission Peninsula over the past few years. Here’s a photo of one outside our window in 2019, and here’s a pair in Brys Vineyards last year. Like the one on Center Road yesterday, they were working over some poor raccoon whose life here on earth had ended.
This one on Center Road is in the same spot where I saw the eagle feasting on another poor soul a couple of winters go. Apparently, all the giant birds on the OMP have figured out that this is a good dining area.
I don’t remember seeing this many turkey vultures – or any vultures, for that matter – on the Peninsula when I was a kid. Maybe I’m just paying more attention. Maybe something has changed in our environment to bring them here now.
Or maybe … just maybe … they know something about Tim and me they’re not telling us. If that’s the case, we’ll just keep watching our back and checking the local obituaries to see if we’re in there.
At any rate, these big birds excel at keeping our roads and landscapes clean. On this story I posted in February about the eagle who flew past our window carrying some deceased soul, reader Pam White commented, “Bald eagles are notorious scavengers, and that’s a good thing. Like vultures – they’re great ‘recycling’ machines to keep the environment clean.”
We certainly know this to be true here on the Old Mission Peninsula. And thus ends today’s installment of birds eating dead things.