As I sat eating the last bits of my vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, the phone started ringing. It was for me; it was Charlotte calling. She had gone to get a veggie sub at Subway and had just turned off our street.
She said to me, “Get your camera and come down around the corner!”
I asked, “What’s up?” But I thought, Oh, no, it was a fender bender or maybe something worse?
So she tells me, “I think it might be a big hawk or something. There is some dead animal on the road and he is picking at it. You might want to get some pictures!”
I might? This could turn into the grand-prize of opportunity shots.
“Okay, I’m on my way,” and I quickly hung up the phone.
I grabbed the camera, and Laci and I set forth to see what Charlotte had found. As we got around the corner we saw this huge brown bird. His head popped up as we walked toward him; I saw the distinctive red color on his head and neck, and I recognized that we had us a turkey vulture! And he had him a dead squirrel!
He moved back and forth from the squirrel to the roof of the nearby house. He got spooked more easily by pedestrians than he did the cars that whizzed by. I got a few dozen good pictures (some of them might be a bit queezy for some) and we went back home.
As I loaded the captures into the computer we saw this magnificent beast. The turkey vulture is an opportunist; he only eats already-dead animals. He does no hunting like some other carrion birds. As we admired this bird, I got to thinking: here my wife stopped from her trip to call me and tell me about a unique and somewhat gruesome photo opportunity. Now that is really something. I get photo tips from several different people. But this is not a photo shoot that Charlotte would ever set up or even consider. But she thought of little-ole’-me and my (sometimes) bizarre ideas of a good picture. Every man should have a wife like this!
Postscript: The very next day I get another phone call – from Charlotte again. She is a mile or so away. This time she has spotted an animal carcass being fought over by three turkey vultures. We had never seen any of these birds close up ever, and now she has a close encounter twice in two days! Since it was a busier road I did not make it up to this one, but the same sentiment still exists!