Queen Creek Independent

Bid bye-bye to buzzards this weekend at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

This week brings the Autumnal Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians.

In Pinal County, our own Boyce Thompson Arboretum, 37615 U.S. Highway 60 in Superior, celebrates a sure sign of fall with the annual departure of the seasonal resident turkey vultures (also called buzzards).

On Saturday Sept. 23, join Arizona State University professor Dave Pearson for an early morning salute to the big, black birds.

Events are included with adult admission of $12.50. They are free to BTA annual members and Arizona state parks pass-holders.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior will mark the beginning of fall with a salute to turkey vultures on Sept. 23. (Special to the Independent)

Arrive early for the 7 a.m. special vulture viewing Saturday to observe BTA’s famous flock of turkey vultures perched on the cliffs before they depart to spend their day soaring the skies.

Dr. Pearson returns by popular demand as guest “vulture-ologist” stationed near the Desert Legume Garden from about 7 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. talking about turkey vultures, sharing jokes about the big black birds, answering questions and waxing poetic about the soaring scavengers until they take to the sky, typically by 8:30 a.m.

Dr. Pearson and other guides will lead a bird walk through the gardens at 8:30 a.m. in search of other birds, mammals and critters.

Other events Saturday include a geology walk at 8 a.m. and a butterfly walk at 9 a.m. Patrons can confirm event times and read more at cals.arizona.edu and facebook.com/btarboretum.

Author Katie Fallon will sign copies of her nonfiction book “Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird” Sept. 23 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. (Special to the Independent/BTA)

A special guest for the morning is author Katie Fallon. Her nonfiction book “Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird” was released this year from the University Press of New England.

A portion of the book’s last chapter spotlights BTA’s annual festival and two chapters take place in Arizona and southern Utah. They highlight the Hassayampa River Preserve, the Grand Canyon, the Vermilion Cliffs and the town of Gila Bend.

Ms. Fallon will sign and sell copies of her book in the visitor center from about 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., following Dr. Pearson’s bird walk.

People may order copies of the book and read more about the author at katiefallon.com/books/vulture/.

Editor’s note: Paul Wolterbeek is an employee at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.