I think vultures get a bad rap. They really perform a valuable service in nature. They do a much better job of recycling than we do.
In case you’re wondering why I am inspired to post about vultures, I am (1) waiting to find out whether I will want to share the video of the festival choir concert from last weekend, and (2) am also trying to figure out how to possibly convey what is going on with the home crowd (it grows, and changes daily!) through various types of media. But while trying to find time to figure all that out, I thought I’d share a few pictures looking back to my November 2013 East Africa trip, with these spiffy-looking vultures in particular.
There were more vulture species on the list, but these were the only identified portraits I found recently.
Yes, those are storks in the photo below: they also showed up after a kill, with the vultures.
Nature takes care of itself. And us, if we let it.
A few months ago I saw a great documentary on TV about Vultures in Africa. They began to find hundreds of these birds dead in a large area, they were suspecting some kind of virus. They did tests of all kinds and found that they had been poisoned with a potent pesticide used for a problem they had on the fields. The mammals that grazed those fields did not get affected but when they migrate would go across the rivers and many would drown and then rot and were eaten by the vultures and they at the same time got poisoned and in short time would eventually die. It was bad as it was but got worse because the tremendous impact to the Ecology. The corpses of numbers of animals accumulated to great proportions and there wasn’t enough consumption from the lack of vultures. The government had to deploy fleets of trucks and large number of workers to pick up the corpses and burn some or bury other. What a chain reaction just for shortage of vulture population! Cool isn’t it?
Thanks for your comment, HJ. This sounds vaguely familiar to me which may be why quite a while ago I was thinking about doing a blog post about vultures and then forgot why by the time I got around to it. What a mess humans make. I was aware if the shortage of vultures in India,
I hope the choir video is worth sharing.
I hope so too! Last year’s sort of talked me into it.
They are really quite magnificent!
Yes, surprisingly so. Perhaps lending credence to “you are what you eat.” 🙂
They may get a bad rap, but they are still nasty-looking creatures.
The babies are cute. And those wings!
I have had a life long passion for vultures. I studied wildlife biology with a desire to be an old-world vulture ornithologist. That dream did not happen, my course changed – but my passion remains. Vultures are natures garbage collectors. They are part of the natural cycle for replacing important nutrients in the soil, and as mentioned in the other comment – a natural mortician. Thank you for your post.
Thanks so much for your comment! I am intrigued by the idea of feeding my human remains to vultures rather than the available options. If I could ensure that I was not contaminated by some medical treatment. But I doubt I’ll live long enough to see that option become a reality.
Interestingly I share in the sentiment. There are “vulture restaurants” in parts of Africa…but for me, that would be an expensive funeral (ship from US)
Not to mention the sky burials in Tibet, which likely aren’t exactly open to the public. In Googling that just now I ran across a disturbing story that France wanted to eradicate Griffon Vultures after a dead hiker was found consumed. http://www.earthintransition.org/2013/05/unintended-sky-burial-with-vultures/
Which reminds me I have to see if I have any pictures of Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures as I am sure we saw them in Africa. If I find one that’s representative I’ll post it.
Awesome! I will look for that photo when you post it, they are my absolute favorite. Also, thank you for the article.
You’re welcome. 🙂