Wildlife Where?

Three Weird Sitings and Sightings

I have been observing wildlife, birds specifically, showing up in the oddest places. Is this the signs of things to come? I have had robins in my garden in February and January, snow on the ground and robins desperately searching for food. But that is not what I have been seeing lately.

A couple of days ago, I was traveling on a very busy 4-lane highway (sorry no photos because of this). My camera is always with me, wrong lens often, but the camera is handy.  So this particular time I was driving home from a job and what is on the opposite side of the divided highway? A gang of turkeys. They were busy foraging the grass for food and seemingly oblivious to their precarious predicament. I could not pull over, luckily for them, because I would have likely spooked them into a frenzy and they would have been promptly roadkill. Turkeys are very wary of people and run for cover very quickly, hiding disguised in the brush. But no brush was around! I would not have wanted to be responsible for their demise.

This was right in front of a huge Mall in our area, backing them was more busy commercial streets and a crowded housing development. They occupied a small patch of grass between all this confusion. How they got there is beyond me and how they were going to leave seemed quite improbable. There was no where for them to take off, no clear runway to gain speed to lift that bulky body. And… there was about 25 of them too. So this is odd spot number one.

Next we have another head scratcher with five Turkey Vultures. They were moseying around a small park in the middle of Lewiston, right off Center Street, people, businesses and danger everywhere. This is a very bustling, scenic town and turkey vultures do no fit in any shape or form.

They were not afraid of me either. I only had a 135mm lens which does not get that much distance and is certainly, no lens to shoot wildlife. Plus, not a great lighting condition either with the shadowing on a dark bird. They are sitting atop the historic Frontier House, built in 1824-5. It was a former hotel.

I pretty much walked right up the vultures to grab some shots.  Some of them were on the ground, while others rested on the fence.

But this is not even the oddest part of this nature story. They had what I believe was a feral cat with them. You can see the cat hiding from me in the second image. Of course it was a black cat too, so all creatures being black with unfortunate lighting made for barely there photos.

Not like the birds and cat were friends or anything, they just happen to be in the same location at the same time, neither one scaring the other. The cat ran from me before the vultures took flight. It makes you wonder what is going on lately.

They were in this park below then flew up on top of the multistory building. I must have amused them because they gathered to see what I was doing on the ground below. Of course, they tired of me before I tired of them, and then moved on.

I caught the turkey vulture right as it took flight.

Is it possible that the turkeys and turkey vultures I have seen came to these heavily populated areas to seek shelter in town because the coyotes have taken over the rural areas? Makes you wander. I can tell you, I want neither in my yard. I see enough of them on the farm thank you.

The park is the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden. A small courtyard park, it celebrates the friendly relationship and friendship between the US and Canada.

The yellow house is also a historic structure, it is the oldest standing building in Lewiston, NY, built in 1816. It has remained mostly unaltered in over 190 years. These vultures must have some class to be hanging out here.

But here is another oddity I saw but did not photograph. My husband and I were going out to dinner at a restaurant in the Lewiston area, traveling along the Parkway. He was driving and as usual, I was on the lookout for hawks and large raptors just because I like to see them. No camera along, and the iPhone could have never captured this odd scene up next.

What I witnessed left me a little dumbfounded. For about a mile, right up against the highway was robin after robin, all lined up pointed toward the roadway, like they were hitchhiking or something. So many robins about a few feet apart, and everyone was a male. This was so bizarre. Males are pretty territorial and usually are not here in March. There they were, about eighty of them, standing right at the roadways edge for about one miles travel. Ever see something like that?

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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25 Responses to Wildlife Where?

  1. andrea says:

    I guess what you witnessed are really mind boggling, makes us think what is happening in our world. Destruction of habitat might have propelled them to intrude in men’s territory. Or yes, as you said, looking for food. We don’t have them here, and maybe i am scared of vultures, as they are normally associated with corpses! (horror movies). In our property in the province, it is also scary to see lots of crows, which are stealing chicks and whatever they can cannibalize on. Maybe in this competition for food and habitat, the most intelligent will be last to be extinct, and vultures and crows are some of them. I don’t know about vultures, but i know that crows are one of the most intelligent of the birds.

  2. What strange sightings you witnessed! I have turkey vultures year round. They often sit on my neighbors roof and watch everything going on below. Last year I saw a group of turkeys along the roadside. At the time I was disappointed that I didn’t have my camera but know that I read your post it was a good thing that I didn’t stop to photograph them. I wonder if you will ever learn about why the robins were all standing at attention as you drove by.

  3. thequeenofseaford says:

    We have lots of vultures around here. Ours are Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures have red heads, kind of ugly (or uglier than the black headed ones). They sure clean up the road kill. There was a dead deer up the road and there must have been two dozen vultures. Since we don’t have road clean up crews (or they aren’t in my neighborhood) the vultures seem to do a great job. We like our turkeys, thought it was hunting season for them, not sure. Seemed like we hadn’t seen any turkeys for most of the winter and then, poof, tons of turkeys almost every day. Funny.

  4. I saw wild turkeys at the roadside on Union Road, not far from Main Street, in Amherst one fall.

  5. Hmmm, very strange. The first instance I can imagine, though. We had a group of turkey vultures (I think they call it a “venue”) in our backyard around this time last year, and I posted about it. Of course the weather was entirely different. Some of the comments mentioned that migration patterns shift sometimes and throw off the normal route and roosting sites. The other situation with the Robins is really wild! Had it just rained? Maybe they were grabbing a plentiful supply of worms? I don’t know, that’s just a guess. (I posted a wrap-up of the “Lessons Learned” meme last night. Thanks for linking in!)

  6. Indie says:

    How bizarre.. It definitely makes you wonder if there is some sort of environmental link between all this strange behavior.

  7. Chad B says:

    Very strange. I won’t even pretend to have a clue what could cause those strange sightings. But if you made me guess, I’d say it does have something to do with climate changes and how that might have affected habitats. Either that or you are living the early scenes of an Alfred Hitchcock film.

    • My husband said the same thing about the robins. He asked if I remember seeing the movie The Birds. He thought it started that way. Of course, he did not think all those robins were a big deal either, but did think them lining up was odd. BTW, to those thinking they were eating worms…I did not see one of them feeding. They all were staring across the highway for some weird reason. They were at the place were the concrete meets the gravel shoulder, and could have easily gotten run over.

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    With the vultures and a feral cat all in the same place, I wonder if there was a dead animal nearby they could both smell. Or of the cat had killed a mouse, not eating it all, and the vultures could smell it? I suppose we’ll never know. The robins – I like PlantPostings’s theory about worms. But the jet stream is doing odd things this year, and the weather has been wild, so they could just be off course. I bet the wildlife is as confused about this weather as we are.

  9. You and your husband in the car sounds like me and my husband as I scan for wildlife…I have never seen this with robins nor have I seen the turkey vultures yet at the lake…we did however think we saw a snowy owl…white huge and owl-like…hmmm…strange goings on indeed.

  10. b-a-g says:

    I’m pretty sure that I once saw a hawk picking at the flesh of a pigeon. When I went out later to check the site, there was no sign at all.

  11. Christine says:

    from the vultures and black cat to the Robins lined up in the street … It could all start sounding a little eerie. just kidding, but I do find it a little disturbing. Are they running out of habitat? I don’t think they are good signs.

  12. Marguerite says:

    As soon as I saw that vulture in the first picture I thought that seems odd. I’ve only ever seen these birds out in rural areas. That cat’s lucky they didn’t decide to make a dinner of it. Despite not having the right camera you still managed some pretty great shots of their faces and wing span. They’re rather amazing birds.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Hi Donna, Everything seems off-cilter right now. I mean, this is March of gosh sakes and today it felt hot enough to be the end of June! My magnolia is about to bloom.
    I have never seem a turkey vulture up close. How odd that they let you approach them. You got a great shot of the one taking off. The male robins you saw grouped are strange too. Perhaps the warm weather has sent them north en mass.

  14. Turkey vultures look creepy. Hitchcock should have used them in The Birds.

  15. Goodness, those Robins must have been a sight to see. We’ve had some very territorial males here in recent weeks, and I often witness skirmishes in the garden. Turkey vultures in town though…very strange! I only occasionally see them here, usually so high up riding the thermals I can barely see them. Nothing like your close encounter! Turkeys though, even wild ones, we have in abundance at the moment!

  16. Cynthia says:

    Watching nature is so interesting!

  17. AngryRedhead says:

    Pretty odd! I see vultures in Austin – eatin’ roadkill and siftin’ through trash. At the Sunday brunch following my wedding, a deer or something must have died by the pond because we could smell rotting flesh (not too bad but enough to know what was going on), and the trees were FILLED with vultures.

  18. Masha says:

    Very unusual, thank you for a nice read. Great pictures, as always, bad lighting and a wrong lens notwithstanding.

  19. jakesprinter says:

    Stunning Photo you have here my friend 🙂

  20. Bom says:

    Definitely strange. Earlier comment of Chad about Hitchcock’s The Birds also came to mind while reading your post. I tend to agree with the cause being destruction of habitat. I’ve been seeing uncommon birds in my garden as well.

  21. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately—overwhelmed. Very starnge happenings. Those turkey vultures are the rare, at least here, black kind. I think they are quite beautiful.

  22. Christina says:

    Instead of global warming people are starting to call it global weirdness. When asked what evidence is there that the weather patterns are changing, you only have to read through a few blogs to see that A LOT is changing, and not for the better. Christina

  23. Some very nice captures, Donna. Well, you didn’t actually CAPTURE the birds.

  24. Les says:

    Something strange is going on up there.

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