Past Events



Every Spring the Buzzards Return to Perkins!

BIGGER than butterflies!
SMELLIER than hamsters!
MORE FUN than a bucket of worms!



OK, so maybe you don't like looking at stars. How about large black birds that eat dead things?

Buzzards are a very important part of a healthy ecosystem. Without them, we'd be armpit deep in icky, smelly bodies in no time. Perkins Observatory has a flock of these wondrous and efficient cleanup specialists that roost in our trees. This is a migratory flock, so each year we look for their return. It's a sure sign that Spring has come!

Make no mistake: We have more buzzards than Hinckley Ohio! We know that because part of our flock may have taken a day trip to Hinckley to check out the festivities there. Sure, some probably stayed, but the discriminating ones returned to Perkins Observatory for the Delaware County Preservation Parks "Buzzard Day" on Sunday, March 13th, 2005.


Each spring, Perkins hosts a wonderful program presented by the Delaware County Preservation Parks Department.

Meet "Lurch"

(Pictured here with care-taker, Troy Paisley)

This happy fellow is owned by the Columbus Zoo. He was brought to the Zoo as a youngster with an injured wing. Normally the Zoo would try to return such an animal to the wild after rehabilitation. However, this was not possible for Lurch so he became part of the Zoo's animal collection.

Each year the friendly folks at the Zoo bring him out to Buzzard Day so that the visitors can see a buzzard up close.

img11 The most graceful flyers in the world!

It is said that these birds can soar like no other.
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  • These birds can live as long as 20 years.
  • Turkey vultures are true scavengers, eating carrion (dead animals). As scavengers, they fulfill the ecological role of "garbage collectors" of the sky.
  • It is estimated that 1,000 vultures can recycle about 11,000 pounds of carrion each year.
  • UUnlike other birds, they lack a syrinx (voice box) and can make only hissing and grunting sounds.
  • Like other large birds of prey, they can soar for hours on thermals without flapping their wings.
  • Usual hunting flights for vultures are just above the treetops at about 200 feet. During migration they have been seen at altitudes of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. Flight speed is about 20 mph when soaring and twice that when migrating.
  • Adults weigh an average of 4-6 pounds with females slightly larger in overall size than the males.
  • Turkey vultures have a six foot wing-span.
  • Many people know these birds by another name - Buzzards.
  • Turkey vultures prefer a full-bodied red wine with dead skunk or possum. White wine is best with smaller, less gamy animals like squirrels or chipmunks.


Every spring like clockwork, turkey vultures arrive north from their winter ranges to their summer breeding grounds. Many of these birds travel as far south as South America to spend the winter, while others travel no further than Kentucky, Tennessee, or Virginia. Although turkey vultures are summertime residents here, some are just passing through as they continue through Ohio to areas as far north as southern Canada. By late spring, two eggs will be laid on the bare ground. Both parents incubate the eggs and will care for their young until late August.


More Images

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Images courtesy of Jay Elkes

Perkins is a favorite roosting site!

Some Other Avian Visitors

Newman: A Screech Owl

Jamma: A Red-Tail Hawk

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