Early in the night, just after dark, a raccoon visited the turkey vulture nest tree. It climbed up the backside and over the top. Paused a moment at the cavity opening, then was on its way. I worried when I first saw the intruder, a nest raider for sure. I wondered if the vulture eggs would be safe down inside the tree cavity? Will this night bandit be back?
Turkey Vulture Rendezvous
Spying on the Vulture Nest
Vulture Turf Wars
Wings of Autumn
I can’t help but notice, a few followers have dropped off since I started the turkey vulture posts. There is more to come, and on Friday, I will reveal why I have been stalking turkey vultures.
In the meantime, I must get a better system for surveillance. I mounted an old video surveillance camera to view the turkey vulture nest tree in our backyard.
The video is bad at its best. As a backup, I mounted a wildlife cam on a ladder near the nest cavity. Today, the nesting pair gave quite the display. The footage is highly pixelated with poor image quality in general.
I headed out to retrieve the SD card out of the wildlife cam, but it was knocked askew sometime before the mating.
Any suggestions are welcome for a product that will allow us all to view this pair. They should start incubating eggs soon. Typically, their chicks start to fledge mid June around our area.
I know, I know, somewhere in here is bliss, but who can find it amongst the low res pixilation?
I thought about not posting this video, but figured some of you reading this post might have some suggestions.
Here is the video, great content, lousy quality.
I am uncertain as to how well this will work. Today Tim and I set up a camera to watch the turkey vulture nest. Since they have already returned to the nest, we set it up at a distance. Hopefully, we can catch them coming and going at the entrance.
The nesting spot is located deep in the cavity of a hollow tree. We measured last summer and it is 14 feet down. We have no way to set up a camera inside of the nest cavity short of drilling a hole in the tree trunk.
After some time, I may mount a camera on a pole and raise it to the top of the nest to attempt to sneak a few shots of the inside; but for now, we will keep it at a non-disturbing distance. So far, no images to share from the nest cam itself…I will keep you posted.
In my last post, I noted that I was trying to capture a breeding shot of the turkey vultures. As I was cleaning my painting table, I noticed a vulture perched on the gate at the lower field, two on posts, and one on the ground. Surely, there must be a nesting pair amongst this crew.
I grabbed the camera and sneaked out the office door and around the side of the house. The one on the gate spread its wings, as vultures often do when sunning themselves. The posture was a bit more intimidating than the usual bask in the sunshine. Then the one on the ground spread out its wings.
They squared off.
Then the one on the gate literally flung itself onto the intruder. The fight was on. The fight initiator chased the other through the trees, across the big pond, and up the hill. Then the victorious vulture flew into the nest tree and fluffed its feathers in a display claiming the nest site.
Interesting goings-on in my backyard.
I went out into our backyard to get some reference photos of lighting on the trees. Just as I raised the camera to my eye, I hear an odd squeaky grunt from the west. I did not recognize the creature making such a sound. It did not sound like the call of a bird, nor did it sound like a critter on the ground. Quickly, I lowered the camera for a look.
I saw two turkey vultures tangled in a mating embrace in the nest tree just south of the big pond. I switched the camera to video to catch the moment and only managed to get the afterglow fluff of feathers.
Turkey vultures are very secretive. We lived here for almost ten years before we realized they were nesting in the hollow of an oak tree just south of the big pond. Even more years before we saw the nesting pairs enter and leave the nest.
The hollow of the tree extends fourteen feet to ground level. By the time the chicks can climb out, they are old enough to fly.
The next day, I watched from the workroom for the vultures to return to the tree. I hoped to catch them. Then they came, one after the other into the tree. I turned off the equipment and rushed out. I don’t usually take a rushed break in the middle of the work day, but I was on a mission.
I slipped around a tree to the southeast of their location and waited. The vultures, the aware bird that they are, already spotted me and were staring in my direction. Then they flew overhead and if they had voice boxes, I am sure they would have sounded a laugh.
So it begins, the nesting of the turkey vultures in our backyard. I will keep you posted.
As for me, I returned to work a little more productive after sneaking a little bliss.
Camera shy people never cease to amaze me. The lengths they go through to avoid the lens are impressive. As is the case with our daughter-in-law, Amanda. Most attempts to capture her on film end like these two shots.
However, if we are sneaky and distract her with finger painting or puppies, we can catch her in a moment.
If an official shot is required and she will gladly be in the frame with someone she loves. She is all smiles.
The most interesting thing about camera shy people is they are often the ones behind the lens. I think Amanda’s awareness of the discomfort the lens brings to others gives her sensitivity when she shoots portraits. Amanda is a gifted photographer. No, it is not her day job, but a visit to her Lightly Spiced Photography by A Adams Facebook page reveals her eye for composition, lighting and attention to a shot’s emotion. I hope you visit and see what she is up to.
I enjoy the portraits she takes. My favorites, of course, are the ones of our GrandThings.
Keep smiling and keep shooting –
Happy Birthday, Amanda
We Love You!