BROWN CEMETERY, (Good Billy,
Hwy 166, Al State Line), GILES COUNTY TENNESSEE
If anyone noticed the white splotchy stuff on the stones from the photos you are very alert. That my friend is vulture droppings. Yes vulture poop. A flock of them have taken to roosting here at night. There is obviously nothing here for them to eat so they don't come here during the day. I don't think the caretakers are aware of that because they otherwise are doing such a great job of caring for this cemetery.
As I was about the business of photographing this cemetery I began to notice the droppings, but was not sure what kind of bird made them, except it was clearly a large one. Soon the answer practically fell out of the sky. I looked up and saw a large flock the big black bare necked creatures swooping overhead circling around as if I was vulture bait. More than likely they wanted their afternoon nap, but when they got close enough and noticed me they moved on for they are very shy birds.
When I got closer to their main roosting station on the tall monuments I began to notice an awful odor filling my sensitive office worker nose. It bacame a "close pin on nose affair" from that point on. Ha!
I had to be careful not to contaminate my hands for these and all birds can be carriers of certain diseases like Hepatitis B. I was never more glad to have an available supply of Windex and Listerine & paper towels in my trunk to clean my hands that day.
The vultures like to use the cemetery as a roosting place because it is next to a creek. Also they can better navigate their large wings while taking off into the open from the tops of the tombstones than from the ground where coyotes can catch them. Taking to the air from inside leaf covered trees also presents a difficulty for them. Maybe a big colorful scare crow would drive them to find another place to roost. Who knows? Awe, the hazards of cemetery photography.
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