When I was growing up in West Tennessee, we called them "buzzards." The more common name is "turkey vulture." Whatever we choose to call them, they are descending on us in record numbers.
In West Tennessee we would only see them soaring gracefully hundreds of feet in the air. Rarely could they be seen on the ground or nesting. Recently I drove by a huge poplar tree on the Pellissippi Parkway that had 25 or 30 of the giant birds nesting in it.
Another spotting is more outrageous. Driving on Topside Road last week, I saw two vultures in the middle of the road working on a roadkill possum. One was dragging the carcass to the shoulder of the road and the other was pushing with it's beak. They hopped to the side of the road as I approached, so I pulled off. The two birds immediately jumped back on their meal and continued their pulling and pushing. Another car passed and they retreated again. I pulled out and started on my way. In my rearview mirror I could see them still hard at work.
I emailed my friend and outdoorsman extraordinaire Sam Venable. He said the only thing they he could think for the influx of vultures is that the unusual amounts of snow in the North this winter may be driving the birds south.
So maybe they will be on the way once they devour all they can in these parts. Just like a certain football coach we know.