[Tweeters] Turkey Vultures on Whidbey Island

George Heleker earthman1950 at whidbey.com
Thu Sep 26 09:29:17 PDT 2019

On 9/24, on a sunny afternoon at 3:28 pm, we saw a 17 bird kettle of
Turkey Vultures south of our place. After soaring for about ten minutes,
while others arrived from the north/northwest for a total of 32, they
all glided off toward the south/southeast.

After scanning the sky for more than 20 minutes, on 9/25 starting at
2:30, we saw 17 vultures in a kettle to the south of
here at 2:51 pm. Their numbers increased as others joined them from the
north/northwest. A little farther east, there was also another kettle of
24 birds. The two kettles became close enough to each other to become
one for a total of 52 birds! By 3:02, all the birds were gliding off
toward the south/southeast. A few minutes later, one bird appeared low
in the south, and it soared for a little while then glided off toward
the south/southeast. At 3:14, six birds appeared in the southwest and
soared higher. Four of the six glided off toward the south/southeast,
then in a few minutes five more joined the two remaining, and they
eventually glided off toward the south/southeast. We stayed outside
until 4:00 pm and did not see any more Turkey Vultures.

Our house is about 2 miles southwest of the Clinton ferry dock near the
highest part of the south end of the island which is about 510 feet
elevation. I'm beginning to wonder if we are on a Turkey Vulture
"highway" for fall migration. I have seen three kettles of Turkey
Vultures here in late September and early October, but back then I was
working five days a week, and not always home on weekends with sunny
weather, so I could have missed a lot of birds passing through. Now that
I'm a retired person, I'll be out checking the skies here the next few
weeks on sunny days.

George Heleker

Whidbey Island
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