Graceful Genius

​An excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book, by naturalist Bradford Torrey, written in 1895:
Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura, or buzzard or carrion crow, perched on dead tree in blue sky morning sunrise. Nature hike along the Upland Pine Trail in the Stephen C Foster State Park. Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, USA. Photographed May 3, 2020. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

“​I look up from my paper to see a turkey buzzard sailing majestically northward. I watch him till he fades in the distance. Not once does he flap his wings, but sails and sails, going with the wind, yet turning again and again to rise against it,—helping himself thus to its adverse, uplifting pressure in the place of wing-strokes, perhaps,—and passing onward all the while in beautiful circles. He, too, scavenger though he is, has a genius for being graceful. One might almost be willing to be a buzzard, to fly like that!”  –  Bradford Torrey, 1895

Turkey Vulture soaring effortlessly over the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. May 5, 2020.

iNaturalist observation:

1 Comment

  1. I have always been a fan of vultures and loved to watch them fly. I featured an imaginary conversation between a vulture and a crow in one of my Hanging Out with Wild Animals books.

    Thank you, William, for the beautiful photos. I enjoyed the post. All the best! Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

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