I spotted the first turkey vulture. That’s how I know spring has come to my ridge-top home. I don’t count vultures in town, which is at a lower elevation. I wait until… Are you frowning? Skeptical? Spring is about cute little tweety birds, so why do I mark its arrival with a vulture?
The timing fits perfectly. Like most birds, vultures migrate seasonally. This can mean the northern population moves to where the southern population spent the summer, and depending on your location, looking out your window, you’d never know anything changed.
But for me, in the Gila Forest of New Mexico USA, turkey vultures disappear in fall and return right around the equinox. Our dry, windy season is starting too, and a few brave spring flowers poke through the dry grasses left from last year. Or cling to the ground – I mentioned the wind.
On April 1st I’ll put out my hummingbird feeder, ready to welcome the next major migration. Ah, you say. Cute, colorful, little hummers. That’s a bird for spring. But if you’ve ever watched them you know they are ferocious warriors. The vultures are a more even-tempered sign of spring.