Switchin' Flies

By Barney Nelson.
 
The buzzards are back. I saw one on March 1st, then two on March 5th, and then a slew of them March 15th. We used to have kind of an annual spring competition around here to see who would be the first to spot one. I haven't heard much about that lately. Maybe there's not an app for that? I worry about buzzards, probably because of Mary Austin's fine chapter "The Scavengers" in her 1903 book, The Land of Little Rain. She wrote sort of an ode to ravens, buzzards, vultures, and condors and how important they were for keeping deserts clean. She said the only place you found them was around cattle. They were strange birds for someone to admire in her day, sort of like admiring the people who pick up our trash today
 
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