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June 4, 2009

Going to the Birds

I work from home, and as I've mentioned before, my office is in the front of my house, overlooking a beautiful walking park across the street. My two furry friends, Bear and Champ, love to sit in the front yard during the day and watch the people (and dogs) walking by.

It's kind of funny to watch them really. When it's just people, they are unfazed. There are also a handful of dogs that they are apparently pretty cool with, because they just sit and watch them go by. But the majority of the time when they see a dog frolicking in the park they carry on like crazy -- running back and forth along the property line and barking their heads off. I'd love to know what it is about the ones that they don't bark at, that makes them so special.

Anyhow, this morning I was trying to concentrate on my work, and they would NOT stop barking. I kept trying to tune it out, but then I realized that it wasn't their typical bark that sounds like they're begging the passerby to come and play with them. No, this was a fierce and protective bark that said, "We're the masters of this property and you are not welcome here."

I got up from my desk to go peer out the window to see what the commotion was all about. A brief wave of panic overcame me as I flashed back to an armed robbery I was involved with a dozen or so years ago (another story for another time), but quickly subsided when I looked out the window and saw the cause for the doggy-hysterics.

An uninvited guest was helping himself to a bag of trash that was awaiting pickup -- and if my dogs couldn't get to the trash, they were not going to let some stranger eat it. No way, not on their watch.

I am still not sure exactly what kind of bird this is -- initially I thought a wild turkey -- but as I got closer I started thinking maybe buzzard, or [gasp] vulture. Whatever it is, it is definitely not going to win any "pretty bird" awards.

I'm sending the photo over to my former Ornithology professor, Dr. Dan Klem, at Muhlenberg College for help in identification.

I look forward to your feedback. In the meantime I'm heading out to clean up the debris that this beast spread around the street...and to calm down the pooches after this "hair-razing" morning!


Thomas Dzomba said...

Hey Lauren. I believe that there be a black vulture.

And thanks for listing me as one of your great blogs. I really appreciate that.

Tom :-)

aquamaureen said...

yep, pretty sure it's some kind of vulture. Not a turkey vulture--we have those here and they have a little different marking . . years ago, with my Girl Scout troop, some naturalist shared an "interesting" fact about vultures . . .which, of course, kids loved to hear: they pee right down their legs, because the ammonia in their tinkle disinfects their lower bodies from the garbage they stand in when they eat. And, they are very efficient cleaner-uppers of roadkill . . . so, there is economy and a weird kind of beauty in God's plan for these creatures (still trying to find a good plan/purpose for mosquitos, though!!)

Lauren said...

Just a quick update -- no word as of yet from Dr. Klem, to confirm this bird. As soon as I hear, I'll let you know.

Chow and Chatter said...

what a fun post weird looking bird looks huge!