It’s a Bird, Not a Plane

My family and I happen to reside under an airplane flight path that can be steadily busy at times.

The airplane engine noise is a bit of a nuisance, but you kind of get used to it. Plus, in some strange way, seeing the airplanes reminds me that I’m connected with a huge globe of people and places that are only a matter of hours away, simply by getting on a metal flying machine.

(Also– tell me again how human beings are able to get airborne inside of a multi-ton metal flying machine? I digress.)

In recent weeks, I have noticed a dramatic drop in the number of airplane flights cruising overhead, due to the Covid-19 pandemic shuttering travel for millions of people.

The peacefulness of fewer airplanes passing over head is welcoming and yet, perhaps surprisingly, despairing. I welcome the comparative solitude, while I despair over the tragic developments over the past couple of months due to this insidious virus.

During a recent gaze in the sky, pictured above, I was reminded of a different flight path– that of the turkey vultures that roost in a cell phone tower nearby.

In this photo, about 20 of these graceful, if grungy-looking, birds were soaring thousands of feet in the sky, likely well above the height of the planes that pass under them on the way to landing in the airport in nearby Philadelphia.

With a keen sense of smell, detecting carrion from over a mile away and with a defense mechanism of projectile vomiting at predators, turkey vultures make for intriguing animals that I find enjoyable to watch as they hover slowly overhead.

Plus, they’re much quieter than airplanes.

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