Monday, October 20, 2014


Not just an ordinary buzzard mind you but a Turkey Vulture. I do have my standards. And yes, I do have a strange mind.

This unusual thought came to me as I was lying in my hammock on a beautiful day this week, de-stressing from all the garbage on TV. Not only all the depressing news about disease, bad behavior and mayhem being dumped into our living rooms, but also those incessant candidate commercials had gotten me down.

I just can't take one more political advertisement.  Politics really brings out the worst in our species. "He is lying-- no--- the other guy is the liar." Candidate A advocates cutting funding for victims of spouse abuse and medicare recipients.   B is considered an Obama puppet, insurance wrecker and Bible defiler. Good God Gertrude!!

I am embarrassed to be human. And these are supposed to be the best of us?? I am not unsure that all this bombardment isn't what is causing the increasingly bad behavior of those forced to listen.

So as I lay in the hammock, I began thinking about what animal I would like to come back as, if it is possible, and I hope it is. I realize I am winding down my years here. I have way fewer years ahead than behind, thus the strange thoughts.

Would I want to try again as another human? Forget it. Been there, done that. Humans are a declining species. Surely there are far better choices.

Otters use to rank high on my list.  They make a career out of playing and eating though often kill just for the fun of it. Then there is the possibility of being skinned and worn on the backs of the rich.  Being a serial killer or a garment accessory are strong negatives.

Dolphins have a lot of pluses. They also enjoy play, have tight family groups, are fearless fighters, very sharp minds but there is always the fear of being captured and having to do three shows a day at Sea World.  Sorry, I have no desire for the stage.  

I love the elephant's intelligence, family devotion, and long life but man is such an accomplished predator. Even enormous size can not defeat one well aimed bullet or worse, the chains of captivity.

A family pet?  Never in a million years. To be totally dependent on someone for my meals, potty breaks, exercise and entertainment is not my idea of fun. Yes, many pets live a charmed life of ease but having been in animal rescue work, I've seen a good portion who know only cruelty, hunger, neglect and disease. I can only guess my luck. I'd rather be wild and have only myself to blame.

A bear has always been at the top of my list. They over eat as part of intelligent design, not gluttony, sleep for three to five months at a time and give birth while hibernating. As much as all that sleep sounds cool, I'd rather not waste almost half of my life unconscious. Now if I learn bears have vivid dreams, I may reconsider.

As I lay comfortably in the hammock contemplating this, I was captivated by a gentle, graceful sight. Several Turkey Vultures, were putting on a wonderful show as they rode the air currents while in search of lunch.

The large birds rarely flapped their wings but just let the wind lift them gracefully as they rode the thermals. Up, down, veering off to the left only to circle back to the right. All without visible effort as they smoothly rode the wind.

I often dream of flying. My dream efforts at flying are not nearly so graceful but even my clumsy attempts are pure joy. Wow, to be able to fly with such ease and grace would be spectacular. None of this strenuous wing flapping stuff other birds employ, just gliding. Yep, Vulture zoomed up to the top of the list.

Turkey Vultures are not equipped to kill but are efficient at cleaning up what others have killed. They recycle.  Of course there is that eating of dead stuff thing but don't we do the same? Can't remember the last live thing I ate. Unless we are hunters, we also eat what others kill, it is just a bit fresher.

I learned Turkey Vultures have a keen sense of smell which is singular to their genus. Makes sense though on how they are able to find lunch.  Pretty sure day old opossum smells to a vulture the same as a steak on a grill smells to me, yummy.  I did learn that vultures have set expiration dates on carrion. They do not eat the really rotten stuff as most believe.

Turkey Vultures mate for life. That is another great plus for constant dating and breaking in a new mate annually could be wearing.

Unlike many raptors, vultures are relatively social and often feed, fly or roost in large flocks. A group of vultures is called a committee,venue or volt. In flight, a flock of vultures is a kettle and when a group are feeding, they are called a wake. I like their social aspect and cool group names.

One of the bigger killers of the vultures are automobiles but oddly, the car is also it's greatest benefactor, providing them with easy access road kill. Kind of a double edged sword

Except for that sense of smell thing which I am sure I would find delightful in that feathered body, I could find no negatives.

Not my photo. From the Audubon Society.
Ok, the face could use some work. Bald, wrinkled, severe Rosacea, no eyelashes and a serious over bite-- hum. Scary to think what an old Turkey Vulture would look like but I am assuming to another vulture, that is one hot looking bird.

Play has always been an important attribute for my next life. No, I have never seen a vulture play in the usual manner, but they must have a sense of humor to go through life with that face. I have the feeling their humor is VERY dry.

After re-reading this I am pretty sure my choice was based on my disgust with politics at the time and was seeking a little non-complicated escapism.   That peaceful soaring seemed to be just the answer.

Still it gave me a chance to really look at a creature often found repulsive to many and to find a LOT of admirable, appealing traits. Vulture still stands as a top three choice and if I ever see one chuckle--it will go right to first.

Have you ever given thought to such an off the wall fancy?   What creature would you chose?


  1. Those political commercials really do suck. They're nothing but cesspools of negativity. I think I would be a house cat, napping all day sounds like my cup of tea. I also like the idea of a dolphin as well though, roaming the open seas.

  2. I like how you made such a comprehensive study of the pros and cons of different species...but politicians to buzzards, that is a great connection.

  3. This is an inspired post, Patti. I too am disgusted with my own species, and now that you've pointed out the beauty of a vulture's life, I'll consider it. I have often thought it would be wonderful to be a bird, since I love the feeling of flight. I spend quite a bit of time watching the blue jays and crows swoop in and play in the trees. Thanks for this view from your hammock. :-)

  4. Now that you've exploded my plan to return as an otter, I'm thinking hawk. They're much prettier (although to be honest, anything you could name is more attractive!).

  5. I know it is gonna sound cliche for me, but I would love to be a free range turtle. They wander, eat and mate in the good old out of doors, carry home with them as they go and have the ability to go into hibernation should the occasion arrise. They are good scavengers and seem to have a social order when they meet others of their kind. Besides, their cute in a bizarre kinda way. Yep, fits my fancy. Oma Linda
    ps would you meet up with me and the Sweet Man for lunch in early December should we venture out to the wilds of Arkansas?

  6. You may have too much time on your hands, but it allows you to write a great post!

  7. I do think they are an underrated bird based on their appearance. I am always very impressed with their ability to keep a road clean.

    I think elephants rock but would not want to be one in today's world.

  8. I wouldn't have considered vulture as a first choice, but your explanation is quite convincing. I'm not sure what animal I would like to come back as, the planet is such a crazy mess. I think I would like to go back in time maybe 50,000 years. It would be interesting to be a Neanderthal. They had big brains (bigger than ours), they buried their dead, they were pretty inventive. They did fall prey to the Cro-Magnons, but while they were around they were pretty interesting.

  9. I am quite happy being a duck, but this was a wonderful post!!

  10. I'll never again look at a turkey vulture in the same way. I think I'd want to come back as a jellyfish because I hear some of them are immortal, or at least thousands of years old.

  11. I'm pretty sure you have connected a perfect bird to the current politics. I don't watch much tv, but I am getting three or four of those large postcard political ads every SINGLE day. Talk about waste of paper! I want to come back as a turtle. Nobody messes with you and you can swim and play or lay on a log in the sun,and just relax. Perfect!!

  12. Keith,
    House cat could be good. The toilet is inside and they live life on their own terms. I will have to add that one to the list.

    I fear to compare the two is unfair to the buzzards who way out class the politicians.

    I knew you would be able to relate to riding the thermals. You do a version of that every time you jump. Vultures are truly ugly close up but in flight, a thing of beauty.

    Sorry about busting the otter balloon. They really do have fun though often get carried away. You have a point, the buzzard really is at the bottom looks wise--unless you are another buzzard.

    Linda W.
    Somehow I knew you would either chose a turtle or a burro. Turtles really are the original RV'ers.
    As for your PS--Absolutely--just let me know when.

    You have the first part right and thanks a bunch for the last part. Glad you enjoyed.

    I know. Life would be pretty stinky with out them. I too love the Elephant. They deserve so much better than us.

    You have an interesting thought. How cool to come back in another time and especially one in which man hadn't screwed the earth up.

    Duck works really well for you. Good move. Aw, thanks. Praise from Caesar.

    You made me look that up. Maybe it just seems like a thousand years floating day and night hoping food comes within your reach:))

    Oooh, I have a turtle friend you can hang out with. Linda W wants to be one also. Never hurts to see a friendly face.

  13. Hmmmm. Well you have given us something to think about. i'm not sure what I would be. Perhaps a lion, my favorite animal, would be good. I'd want to make sure I was never captured and put in a zoo. I'd want to roam free and be king of the jungle.

  14. You my dear, are so much prettier than a turkey buzzard. I get the soaring high in the air concept though.

  15. Patti - I hope those vultures weren't circling you there in the hammock because they sensed their next meal! I'm glad to hear other people feel the same way about political ads and junk mail. What are they thinking? I'd sic the vultures on them if I could!

  16. Well thought out and very reasonable...too bad the politicians won't consider their positions to this extent. We're one year away from a federal election and the posturing has begun! Blehhhh!

    Can't say I've ever thought about what I'd rather come back as...assuming I'm not simply worm food. Though with the lack of sleep lately, I'm thinking the bear sounds like a great idea. Even if I got shot by a hunter, I'd get to hang out in front of a fireplace.

  17. Oh I like that that Turkey Vulture! And I laughed at your description---but I think he is very cute!!!
    I agree with you that Humans have gone round the Bend----!
    I've watched Hawks circling in the sky and love the way thry too are carried by the winds...And having watched a Hawk family from eggs to Flying off to their own lives----I LOVED the way the parents watched over them and taught them how to do everything. Not sure if that's what I'd like to be in my next life, but....I think I am done with The Human Race!
    This was a delightful post, my dear Patti!

  18. You have convinced me that the turkey buzzard is the real deal. I like the fact that they mate for life. I guess ducks do too.

  19. I never thought about wanting to be a turkey buzzard but I do love to watch them. They are so graceful. We seem to have a few flying over our Back 6 nearly every day. I hear you about the news and political junk. Another good reason for me to keep the TV turned off.

  20. Think I'd want to be a giant tortoise. Live in warm climate, don't have to move much, and live for a long time. Snooze in the sun.

  21. I am so tired and disgusted with all those stupid ads I don't even turn on the TV. When something comes in the mail I toss it without reading because I already know the garbage it contains. Dear, sweet Patti I will think of you every time I see a turkey buzzard now. Thank you for all the info on them, I never knew a lot of what you shared. I love hawks and would love to soar but I have never really thought much about what I would want to be if it were possible to come back as an animal. You have made the turkey buzzard sound like a very good choice though. Very interesting post as is all of yours. Hugs for you and some nose kisses for the sweeties from me and mine!

  22. Sally,
    Smart move to be the King of the jungle and not the queen. The males just kind of lay around while the female hunts and takes care of the kids. They are beautiful creatures.

    Miss Dazey,
    Ha ha, Well I do have eyelashes and hair. Thanks.

    Yep, I kind of wondered too if they knew something I didn't:)) What say we turn politicians into dung beetles?
    That was too funny about the crab legs. I too sometimes forget what I went in for originally.

    Bears really has some prime assets and that lying in front of the fireplace was one I hadn't thought of.

    Glad you enjoyed and must say hawk is a definite improvement looks wise. You must have seen one of those live feeds of a nest. How cool.

    Glad you will now see vultures in a better light. That mating for life appeals to my lazy nature.

    I seem to be in their hunting area also. I find it quite relaxing to watch them. Glad you also get to enjoy.
    Wish I had the courage to just unplug the TV.

    The turtle family is getting a lot of attention. You may have hit on it though with the tortoise branch. They do live quite long and apparently stress free. Food for thought.

  23. Its the first good result of those awful tv political ads. Your wrote a wonderfully amusing post. Thanks, Patti!!!!

  24. I haven't given up on mankind...yet, but then I don't watch TV... except for the World Serious>>>> GO GIANTS!

  25. You said it my friend:"I am embarrassed to be human." Great post. Did anyone select Sloth? That is pretty much what I am now.

  26. i love this - never considered the vulture, yet there seems to be some nobility within and i like that!

  27. I can't believe it !! You've chosen my favorite bird and I completely agree. I've even written blog posts about how much I revere and treasure them. I used to have as many as 30 or so in the trees in my backyard but haven't seen any for about 3 years.

  28. Maggie,
    I know, don't they realize what a turn off they are? I feel sorry for the young voters today. What must they think?
    I hope I have given the much maligned turkey vulture a bit of a make over for some. They are a bird of worth.

    Thanks. Those bleeping politicians drove me to this post.

    I don't have a horse in the WS race but like both teams. Won't be upset regardless of outcome but am leaning towards the Royals as they have 3 former Marlins on the team. Looking forward to a good series.

    Grannie Annie,
    Nope, he is all yours and I will admit they really know how to conserve energy. I resemble one when I am in my hammock.

    Brite Mist,
    Welcome to TNS, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. They are an under appreciated bird. I hoped to change that.

    I have seen huge committees like that on the reservations in Florida.
    Maybe someday, we can share a kettle.

  29. If one wouldn't mind being stuck with that face on one's mate for life, I think you're onto something here. They are flying over here too in the month of October. And since I go to town, where you usually see them tomorrow, I will pack my camera right now.

  30. Your post was definitely humorous and thought-provoking at the same time. And I have made my decision. I'm NOT coming back. I just want everything to fade to black. When I was younger and had faith in the human race, I wanted to follow the lead of my wonderful neighbor who said she had learned to do too many things during her life and they had all become her responsibilities. So she wanted to come back as a helpless female to be admired, pampered, and loved. However, the world has changed. I could come back helpless, but there would still be politicians to mess with my health, wealth, and happiness and ruin our big blue planet.

  31. Thank goodness we were away for most of the political stuff. But an animal? Sheesh! That's a really hard one. I wouldn't mind being a bird and able to fly, but I wouldn't want to be where there are predators.