Six-Foot Wingspan

"It's a rooster. It's one of the neighbor's roosters. See the red."

"No way, that thing is huge. I'm getting the camera."

"Maybe it's a turkey."

"Here, look through the lens."

"Geez, that thing is butt-ugly.That bird has one wicked helmet."

Yes, turkey vultures are butt-ugly, at least their heads are. What the heck was a turkey vulture doing in our neighborhood? He didn't seem to be in any hurry to leave. As he swooshed down from our neighbor's fence I could see the wingspan. Amazing. I wanted to get closer look with the camera but I was a little afraid. I didn't know if these birds were dangerous or not. My 6'2" football player son, who first spied the raptor wouldn't leave the deck. Baby. I stepped out into the grass, a good 30 yards from the thing, and tried to focus the camera. Maybe just another step. I snapped a few pictures. His feathers were beautiful but that head . . . and that icky eye.

"Mommmmm, he's lookin' at you. If that thing gets any closer, I'm outta here."

Wish I could have held the camera steadier.


  1. Your description of "butt-ugly" captured the image. Loved the conversational beginning.

  2. The conversation you captured at the beginning of this slice was the perfect way to start this slice. It brought us right into the piece and let us follow along with you. And the ending line was perfect and funny. I'd have been outta there too!

  3. Brave girl. Such an unexpected visitor in your neighborhood. We don't have turkey vultures in Estonia.

  4. ooh, turkey vultures are wonderfully creepy to see up close! :-) I love the dialogue to make us feel like we were experiencing it right along with you!

  5. Ha - love the image of the big football player son being afraid of the bird. Enjoyed your slice!

  6. I've only seen them a few times and they are ugly! Great capture of the moment!

  7. Wow, he is so big. I've seen many flying up in circles but never that close. I would guess they are aggressive when protecting food, but probably would just fly away if you got closer. Fun to hear your story, Diana. Always great to have a visitor!


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