Soaring Turkey Buzzard

My favorite flyers in these parts, the birds I most like to watch, are the turkey buzzards. They don’t have the noble heads or curved beaks of hawks, but they are unsurpassed in the air. Yesterday I went for a run to a swimming hole. As I got out of the water, a lone turkey buzzard was sailing in circles over me; riding updrafts effortlessly, no wing action at all. For some reason, he kept circling, and I kept watching. After a while I could almost feel myself flying, surfing the air currents. It was a magic 5-or-so minutes. Then another buzzard floated into the horizon, then another, until there were five of them circling. In this photo, look at the pattern of the “shoulders” and body to pure flight feathers.

-photo from

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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