Saturday, March 24, 2007

Buzzard Parking

On a recent morning commute it struck me that the buzzard roosts along I-40 near the New Hope exit are like bed and breakfast establishments...

Colonial Agrarian Inn
These first two pictures show the oldest inn in town. You may not be able to pick them out in the first photo - it's a lot easier to spot them from a moving car, because the branches in the foreground move and you see the black bird shapes better. Here is a close-up from that same shot - there are three customers (two are in the upper left, and one a bit above center).

Orange View Highrise
Lately I see a large number of buzzards lodging at this new establishment, from which half of Orange County can be seen. The architecture doesn't fit in with Hillsborough's colonial theme, and I'm surprised the Historic Commission approved it, but maybe that's because it's outside the historic district. This photo is deliberately large format so you can scan up and down the tower and see the customers. Last night the inn was only at half capacity - the "Vacancies" light was lit. Some mornings there is no room left on the top - every single one of the best rooms has a bird. I suspect customers prefer the highrise to the rooms at the Colonial Agrarian because there are no obstructing tree branches when they spread their big wings to take off in the morning. Also, the top rooms are probably just the right distance apart for privacy between lodgers. Finally, my wife suggested that this inn may have central heating.

Ozone Rest
What persuaded me to post was the morning this week when the Orange View Highrise was jammed with birds. No rooms available on top or even in much of the understructure. I estimated between forty and fifty buzzards had spent the night. Less than half a mile further I found the rest. The photo I took this morning without birds, but I had noted five fitting quite snugly on top that morning, so I drew some into the photo to give you an idea how it looked.

I hope NC is getting the full hotel occupancy tax from these establishments. With the lottery producing lackluster results, we need all the revenue we can get.

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