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  • Writer's pictureSandy Obodzinski

Rue & Blue Leave the Barn

Every morning before I even open my eyes, I'm noticing the natural world outside my windows. The sounds come first. Always the Carolina Wren and Wood Thrush. The soft eee-oh-lay of the Wood Thrush jostles me awake, while the Carolina Wren's call is the demanding blare of a final snooze alarm. The neighbor's rooster will eventually crow and for several weeks in June the crows were completely obnoxious. Perhaps they had young leaving the nest?

After I open my eyes, stumble up the stairs, make coffee and feed the cats, I step outside to see what's happening in Treehouse land. This week, the focus has been the barn. Rue and Blue have been patiently standing on the barn door most days, or have hopped there within minutes of me stepping outside. I water the flowers and add fresh water to the small wheelbarrow and metal tin near the fence. Both parents drink from this regularly and will likely teach the kids to do the same.

If you develop a strong sense of concern for the well-being of all sentient beings..., this will make you happy in the morning. Even before coffee. ~ The Dalai Lama

Early in the week, one of the parents stayed on the fence within feet while I freshened the water. I believe it was the female, as she is completely at ease with my presence. The male will walk away, though slowly, giving himself just a little more space to feel comfortable. As I filled up their water spots, I chatted while she watched, all a calm and quiet interaction.

That same day, Rue (the eldest by 2-3 days) discovered the joy of zoomies, doing several laps around the barn like a crazy chicken. This morning 'crazy chicken vulture' mustered some bravery to explore the hill off my front deck. I went outside quietly and Rue walked up the hill, hop-flew to the fence, and then flew fence-to-barn. Big progress!

Little Blue also had some fun running around the barnyard today and hop-flying to the fence and back to the barn. Flight progress seems to be moving at the pace of Blue, the younger of the two birds. It is also interesting to note the personalities of these birds, which are much more similar to Flower (2020) than Poppy (2021.) Poppy was a wild man! When Mama Vee arrived to feed, he made very loud grunting noises, flapped his wings like a child throwing a tantrum, and once he was out of the barn he would actually chase her to be fed.

*These photos show the progression of their growth this week, Sunday through Friday.

Late on Friday afternoon, one parent and both youngsters were lined up on the fence together, then in the barn door opening where they stretched and preened for a couple hours. The young vultures, now nearly 12 weeks old, have mastered the vulture version of a down-dog stretch! T

The adults do this often when they stand around preening and watching the world go by for hours at a time. It typically begins when they stretch one leg back, like a human version of a runner's stretch. Then they stretch back the same wing. After doing that on one or both sides, they lean far forward lowering their head to the ground (like cobra pose), while foisting their butt in the air and reaching their wings far forward over their head. And then they come back to resting and maybe give the feathers a sha

Perhaps we would all feel a bit better with a few more of these stretches in our day!

Black Vulture self-care tips for your weekend:

  1. Spend time with a friend

  2. Be curious about the world around you

  3. Stretch your body a few times every day

  4. Get to sleep early to start the day fresh

  5. Do some zoomies


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