Welcome to Travel Tip Thursday, hosted by Pseudo. I've been promising this post for a while, so I apologize for the wait. But here it is, the now infamous BUZZARD POST!
If you didn't see my past buzzard post, I'll give you a little background. Hinkley, Ohio celebrates the returning of the turkey vultures every year, the Sunday after the ides of March. This is when they believe the majority of buzzards return to roost. The celebration involves the Cleveland Metroparks naturalists giving some buzzard expos, complete with buzzards from their "collection" (these are buzzards that were taken in because they were injured, but are not able to be released into the wild for various reasons). There are "buzzard toss" games (corn hole with buzzard bean bags) and a buzzard board that tracks the sitings of the latest arrivals. There is a guy in a big buzzard suit, and an open bus tour of the park for further viewing. It's a little odd, but a good way to spend a morning outside.
We arrived in Hinkley in the height of the celebration (around 10:00am). There were lots of people and lots of dogs and, of course, lots of Buzzards. LG took a short snooze in the car, so he was a little grumpy, and the crowd displeased him. He was only willing to participate if someone was holding on to him (which is a bit unusual for LG).
PB lifted him up to the measuring board to reveal that LG has about the "wingspan" of the average hawk. Both PB is a full vulture and I am a mid size vulture. Little o? Slightly larger than a crow.
We visited the police horses. I'm pretty sure LG has seen a horse up close before, but the size of these guys just flipped him out. He kept saying, "Too big. Too big. Horsies are too big." But he did warm up and finally give the dark brown one a pet on the nose.
Little o decided that this nature outing was an event best slept through.
LG won a buzzard lollipop at the "Buzzard Toss". I think the guy underestimated him. He let him stand right at the bottom of the board. First toss was an overhand right into the hole. Then he had to go and give the "buzzard" a kiss to say he was sorry that he threw him. It was a long game after that. The lollipop was just what we needed to get him away and on to the next activity.
We spent some time watching the naturalists talk about specific buzzards that they had at the Nature Center. LG was enthralled. After that all we heard was, "Hug buzzard. Hug buzzard." Try convincing a 2 year old that buzzards don't want to be hugged.
The last thing we did was take a photo in the buzzard cut out. Since LG had to be on PB's shoulders to get into the right spot, we didn't have someone to fill the ranger's spot. Oh, well.
I just realized that I didn't take a single picture of a buzzard that day. No big loss there. They're pretty ugly.
All in all, it was a good day. We got some sun, we saw some birds, we supported the crazy people of Hinkley.
While I wouldn't make a trip specially for the buzzards, if you happen to be in Cleveland in March, it's well worth an hour or two to visit.
Safe travels, all.