Florida stories: Winter visitors

The first year we lived in Florida, we were delighted to see these big black birds magically appear in October and take up residence in the Australian pines near our house. After a bit of checking with people who'd lived here longer and some googling, we learned that these are Black Vultures. They come here from Texas, they don't build nests and, as far as we can tell, they do not come here to breed. We've never seen a young 'un. By the way, these are all Kim's photographs, some with the new camera even.

It's a bunch of fun to watch them soar and glide. They are really beautiful flyers -- a few flaps to get them out of the tree and they're away. (As an interesting side note, we mentioned to a $cientologist we knew that we thought the birds were lovely and fun to watch. His response? Yuck, they're low-toned [meaning they're not "happy" or "inspiring" or "cheerful"], they're carrion-eaters, and they most definitely are not to be admired! Gotta love those $cienos, huh?)

There's an old dead tree across the street where they congregate in the morning to dry their wings.

One morning when it was foggy (something that doesn't happen often), they came down to our roof and hung out there for a while, apparently waiting for some sun or a breeze.

Sometimes I just lay (lie?) in the grass and watch. They move so gracefully and it's a kick to watch a group of them, slipping and sliding through the sky.

But they are not particularly attractive creatures when they're not flying. They are, after all, vultures.