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Appalachia Through My Eyes – Buzzards

Belled Buzzards of NC

(Deserted house in Oglethorpe Co. GA being guarded by Buzzards)

If you live in the country, especially on or near a farm, I’m sure you’ve seen Buzzards. Sometimes you see the gangly birds swooping down to fight the crows for the latest road kill.

Back in the day-when I was a boat house attendant at Lake Logan in Haywood Co. NC I got to see Buzzards up close and personal on a regular basis.

Our boat house duties included cleaning fish for any guest who caught them. We offered 2 choices-fillet or gutted. Most folks went with fillet but either way by the end of the day we had several 5 gallon buckets full of fish guts. What to do with them?

On the other side of the lake, above the driving range, and up a bumpy rutted road was the gut hole. The maintenance men had dug a narrow but deep ditch for us to dispose of our fish waste. We’d back up to the hole and heft those 5 gallon buckets of fish entrails over the tailgate of the truck.

Most of us attendants were girls-girls who didn’t weigh a whole lot so dumping those buckets could be tricky. One time my partner for the day went in with the bucket. I swear her feet were climbing before she ever landed in the hole.

Needless to say with a daily supply of tasty morsels buzzards made the gut hole a home and scattered only when they heard us coming up the mountain with a fresh meal.

Seeing buzzards may be a regular part of your life, but have you ever heard a Belled Buzzard? For more details click here.


The Deer Hunter had to go into work later than usual today. He said about 9:00 a.m. he heard the awfullest racket of crows he’d ever heard. He went out to see what had them so excited.

We have a metal roof and it carries sound well. About the time he went out the back door one of the crows dropped something on the house. He said it made a cu-thud and Ruby Sue about came out of her skin-she went sliding in all directions not knowing where to bark first.

After he told me about it-I said “Maybe the crows were bringing me a gift to thank me for having the week of the crow.” Always the smart one-he said “Maybe they were warning you not to do it again.”


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Our neighbors have a beautiful indoor/outdoor cat named Catsonova. He is a mighty hunter. A few days ago my husband saw several buzzards attacking the remains of a rabbit in Cats’ yard. We don’t know if it was Catsanova’s kill or not but he came running at those buzzards and chased them away. When they tried to settle next door he went after them again. Finally they landed on a housetop & Catsanova set up guard duty on them. My husband was on his way to work so we don’t know the end of the story!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

    That’s funny!
    I was told a week or so ago that when the crows call they are said to be calling the dead. Now everytime I hear them I wonder who is dying. Hopefully not me!
    We have plenty of buzzards around here flying over looking for a meal.

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    October 24, 2011 at 9:23 am

    hey tipper – the deer hunter or his dad have any luck?

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    We were camping this week in Arkansas, one moring the crows woke us up! and it was way too early!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    What a great post Tipper! They are truly some ugly creatures; I’m sure God had a good sense of humor when he created them. But they do an important job cleaning up the roadkill.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Ah! Nothing like visiting you… the music playing along with the sight of the buzzard photo made me giggle!! I love the uniqueness of your blog…
    And I too see buzzards in a daily basis!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    October 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Ah, the lowly buzzard that we used to disrespecfully call “California Eagles”. Your fish Gut Hole reminds me of the deer Gut Pile at a hunting club down here on a 4000 acre tract. We used to like to get our picture made standing in the road by the Gut Pile sign. Things were slow…

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Tipper, every man wants to marry a woman who can gut a fish. In Deer Hunter language you are a real prize!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I enjoyed your story about the days on Lake Logan and your encounter with buzzards. Hope your
    friend had a change of clothes
    handy. So, did you find out what
    made the ka-thump? Maybe another
    one swooped down and carried it to
    their gathering place.
    A few years ago I had 4 big dogs
    and they had killed a ground hog,
    ate what they wanted, and were
    taking a nap in the back yard. All
    of a sudden a huge shadow came
    over the house getting my attention. A huge buzzard landed
    right on top of the remains and
    claimed his prize. My dogs circled
    him, just like Indians around the
    wagon train. They were smelling
    and sneezing at that awful creature standing on their kill,
    had never seen a ball headed thing with wings up so high. But in
    just a few minutes the buzzard took off, barely clearing the house. I watched him go, clutching
    the ground hog until he landed in
    a big oak tree high on the mountain. There he felt safe to
    enjoy his meal…Ken

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    October 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

    For about 2-1/2 years, I volunteered as a docent at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Each Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM, I was at the top of the lighthouse, about 130 feet above the waters of the inlet. On a windy day, I got to watch the buzzards soaring, sometimes below me, other times at eye level. They are amazing soarers and they seem to really love a windy day.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Great story! I’d be inclined to agree with The Deer Hunter. You might want to heed their warning. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I have a funny buzzard story. I live in Florida and we have an influx on northern visitors that don’t speak the same language as we do.
    My Husband and I were headed out on a camping trip (driving north on a very under traveled road we came to a bridge with a sign that said Watch for Buzzards on the bridge. On our way home (headed South) the sign at the same bridge said Watch for Vultures on the Bridge. I guess this was for our northern visitors that didn’t know what a buzzard was. We laughed about that the rest of the way home.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Great stories Tipper, the second one made me giggle a bit. Your smart one is a lot like my smart one, my hubby would have said the same thing. LOL

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    October 21, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Sine I am a “non-denominational” bird lover, I love buzzards. We have mostly Turkey Vultures around here, but occasionally see Black Vultures. Without these birds – including the crows – we’d be up to our knees in animal guts (and fish guts). They are a good cleanup crew.
    I like BF’s story about the preacher. You always have to be careful what you say in front of a child!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

    ha ha on the Warning… he might be right! we see buzzards almost every day here. we call them God’s Garbage Trucks. they keep our roads cleaned up of the road kill and we have lots of that here because of traffic. i like them because they are ugly

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 21, 2011 at 8:37 am

    The strangest thing that I have ever heard was on the news this week from a Knoxville station. They interviewed some dairy farmers around the foothills of the Smokies. It seems that they are getting worried about buzzards killing their young calves! They think that due to the lack of road kill, dump sites, etc..the buzzards are attacking and killing calves in the field… Of course all I could think of when I saw it was old Western movies. The outlaws would take the good guy and bury him up to his neck and the next scene would be the buzzards circling with one or two hopping around near the old hero cowboys head as the blazing sun was heating up the desert..Somehow the hero would manage to escape…but if the victim was a bad guy then all you would see as the scene faded was buzzards surrounding the victim and buzzard noises, wings flopping up as they must’ve have been feasting on the bad guy. By that time I had my eyes covered!
    Did you check around the house to see what the crows dropped? Maybe it was an owl with a squirrel in its grasp and the crows were tormenting it until it just happened to drop it on your house!
    Poor Ruby, I have a dog too that feet slide when it gets startled with confusion…so funny!
    Thanks Tipper great post…

  • Reply
    B f
    October 21, 2011 at 7:35 am

    the crow thing reminds me of a story about a preacher that was going to a certain home for dinner and as it happened he met the little guy that lived there so he says”son what are having for dinner?” the little fella said “momma said “we,re having an old crow”
    now isnt that just like a child?i thought it was fitting in the crow stories
    have a good day

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