A large gathering of buzzards

Yesterday evening ,a friend and I were paddling on Lake Hartwell in Clemson.
There was a flock, mob, wake of vultures circling . We guessed 50-75 . In general they were circling but swirling is a better term.
Buzzards are a standard ornament in our skies but I had never seen a group like these.

Every spring and fall the turkey vultures migrate through the Arizona/California deserts in large groups like that. Where they find a good hot thermal (air rising) they circle in such quantities that from a distance they can look like smoke from a fire.

Yesterday was in the high 80s so they would have had a good thermal to ride.

They seem to be thinning out here in Florida. We usually have that many roosting in the trees over the boat ramp down the street. They are not graceful in the trees. Must be time to migrate back north…and clean up.


I think those unusual encounters with critters are one of the best parts of being out there paddling. Just a couple of weeks ago I was paddling in the middle of nowhere and a large bald eagle dropped out of a tree right in front of me and the first big flap of it’s wings made a sharp, deep sound that I felt in my chest.


I wish those derned Muscovy Ducks could find a way to migrate away from Florida. They make twice the mess that Buzzards make.

And they are stubborn. Our retrievers have trained the geese to stay away. But the muscovys send in the drake to scope out the situation then the hens come in to roost, poo and spoil the dock. We have to install motion detector sprinklers to keep them away. Their leavings stain.

It’s called a kettle. I always enjoy watching them. Nice sighting.

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Last fall a group of vultures were migrating and decided to land in my neighbor’s yard to roost for the night in his cottonwood trees. Up close their wing beats make a lot of noise. They squawk a lot. It was very creepy and I yelled at them and waved my arms and they left.

Oh, sorry, I came for information on a meetup of paddling.net denizens. I kid, kinda.

Anyway, there"s a water tower near our house where the Turkey Vultures, with wings spread, line up on the sunny side on cool winter mornings.

We have turkey vultures around here too - ugliest bird I have ever seen.

I heard some buzzards discussing paddlers one day.
" Look at those potential meals!"
" Don’t get your hopes up. They exercise a lot so they probably outlive us. Even if one of them dies, his friends will take him away before he is aged enough for good eating.
They are either covered with really tough fabric or chemicals for sun and bug protection. Imagine how that must taste! Road kill is a lot easier to get."

One of my favorites: Rudy Green Buzzard Pie (1949) - YouTube

Here in some of the areas around the Chesapeake vultures are notorious for tearing off windshield wiper blades and window trim at some launch sites. They can do a fair amount of damage.

…they do same thing in the Everglades. Must be their summer home.

Ever heard an explanation? Like a mineral they lack , or just boredom.

Also wondering if it’s the turkey vultures or the black vultures? I’ve often thought black vultures were problem childs. :laughing:

From what I’ve seen and read with the vultures, they do not eat the rubber, they just seem to enjoy tearing it up.

Maybe it’s good practice for tearing tough hide or meat.

This is a big problem in Florida. Some parks started making tarps available for people parking, but the vultures soon learned to rip through them.