Origin Story

Turkey Vulture perched on cliff. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 A022, 1/500 sec., f/6.3, ISO 250. Año Nuevo State Park, California.

Two years ago, my wife and I discovered the fun of identifying birds (aka “birdwatching,” or, even just “birding”).

The raptors were the easiest to spot as these large birds soared in lazy circles above us. I would often point to the sky and ask, “What’s that?”

My wife, Katherine, would often respond, “Turkey Vulture.” With their large size (Wingspans of 5 to 6 feet!), bald red heads and the distinctive color pattern on the underside of their wings, Turkey Vultures shouldn’t be that hard to identify. Yet, every time I saw one circling with only an occasional flap of its wings, I would ask, “What’s that?”

And every time, Katherine would say, “Turkey Vulture.”

One day, Katherine responded differently. “Kathy Hawk,” she joked. She was naming the one bird who’s name I could never remember after me.

Renaming that bird somehow made me able to remember its actual name. Whenever Katherine responded, “Kathy Hawk,” I’d immediately translate it: “Turkey Vulture.”

When it came time to find a name for my blog, many iterations of “bird and photo” were already taken. This name, however, represents my earliest forays into birding and brings with it fond memories.

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