Native Americans believed that when an animal crosses your path, it brings a message.

A rotating pack of twelve or more monster-sized buzzards staring at you from the roof across the way? That has to be a bad, Halloween-y omen.


I’m happy to report the instintive dislike of those pathetically hideous carrion-feeders is incorrect!

Woven throughout Native American folklore and Greek mythology, the vulture is deemed a powerful spirit guide, a “cleanser of souls,” and one of the most peaceful animals in nature. The scientific name for the turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, actually means “golden purifier.” Vultures never kill for food, contrary to almost every other living creature; rather preferring to scavenge or “clean up” the animals left by predators or those that died of natural causes.

The next time you see a vulture soaring (majestically?) overhead, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that your death is imminent (as I usually do when they circle above me toiling in the yard in the heat of summer). Give a silent nod in thanks for doing their part to keep our planet clean and at peace — a lesson each of us would do well to remember.

Should be a rather warm late October weekend here. Imagine we’ll even see a handful of trick-or-treaters, and as always, would like to surpass ten so we can rid ourselves of the candy… Here’s to a spooky, but not too spine-chilling, Halloween weekend for you and yours!

Cheers, Heather

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Some interesting, fun, delicious reads:

  • October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Three out of every 1,000 mammograms result in a breast cancer diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society. The odds are in your favor, so schedule an appointment this month — early detection increases chances of survival to more than 90%!
  • New research just in time to give you the creeps.
  • Bookmarking this for a future Halloween costume.
  • The Little Mermaid debunked + what might’ve been for Ariel.
  • This week’s pinned words of wisdom.

Recently on HGN:

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From the Author


  1. Deb Hansen says:

    I love watching the turkey vultures catching thermals and drifting along so effortlessly. And they always seem to be circling above me when I’m out walking, which can be a little disconcerting. Your photo of the roof-perching vultures is lovely! I hope you have alot of “beggars” this Hallowe’en. Wish we could have them here.

    • Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN says:

      No such luck with the trick-or-treaters — the doorbell only rang four times, leaving us with a mountain of candy. I really shouldn’t be surprised, since our top number in the past five years has been ten. Too rural! (Must buy smaller bag of goodies next year.) Hope that in spite of no little cuties to look out for that your Halloween was a spooky good time!

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