Thursday, October 30, 2008

Political Carrion?

In a Newsweek Online piece entitled "McCain: Bad Metaphor Watch" columnist Holly Baily writes,

. . . you can only imagine the jokes when, later that afternoon, reporters were sitting at another (McCain) event in West Palm Beach and looked up in the sky to see a pack of hundreds of giant birds circling the perimeter above.

This was the third event that day in Florida where "buzzards" were circling (note: I presume she meant "vultures" because technically buzzards don't occur anywhere near Florida). When she brought this up with Mark Slater, longtime McCain aide and speechwriter, she was assured they were hawks, not vultures, as in "Hey, nothing to mavericky worry about here! Our maverick campaign is alive and well, and what do we really know about Obama, anyway?"*

Being a generally cynical person, especially when it comes to politics, I'm not convinced Mark really knew, he was merely spinning a potential story away from the circling-vulture cliche (whether it's newsworthy or just silly is up to you to decide).

Without getting into the politics of how the campaigns are going, I am wondering what these birds are. The accompanying photo isn't great, but the birds should be identifiable.


So, what do you think? Turkey Vultures? Black Vultures? Hawks? Mixed species assemblage?

photo credit: Unknown, I presume Newsweek

* I've been loving Tina Fey's appearances on Saturday Night Live, it's rubbed off a bit.

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2 comments:

John said...

They all look like turkey vultures to me, though there could be some blacks in the kettle.

noflickster said...

john - I'm glad a professional hawkwatcher weighed in! I was hoping sharper eyes than mine would pick out something "interesting" (maybe a wayward Swainson's Hawk, for example). Either way, I'm sure birders and nature watchers would agree a kettle of vultures is an impressive site, evidenced by the interest of non-birding reporters and campaign staff.

Leaving the "dying campaign" cliche aside, I suppose the atmosphere above a political rally would be favorable for raptor migration. You know, the thermals provided by all the hot air . . . .
-Mike

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