Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nature in her modest manifestations

The natural world impinges on our putative civilization here in **Adrift, sometimes in small ways. Often in the morning when I step out the front door to take a reading on the new day, I will see vultures cruising around my sky. I always wonder if they know something I should know. A nice piece from Slate muses on vultures:
As they ride the wind, vultures seek dead things, not dying things, using a sense of smell far more highly developed than any other bird's. They can detect a dead mouse under leaves from 200 feet up. They are discriminating, preferring corpses between two and four days dead. (The turkey vulture entry in the definitive Birds of North America Online does note, "Takes live prey occasionally in unnatural situations.")

Read the whole thing here. The story discusses puking as a defensive move by beset vultures. Owing to an traumatic incident when she was a child returning from church with her grandparents, my wife has an exaggerated wariness of vultures dining on roadkill and starts braking and swerving a hundred yards away when she spots them in the road. She says I would not be so sneeringly dismissive of her fears if I had ever experienced vulture vomit up close.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pilot anon here - still too dense to figure out the login. Your post first brings to mind the hippie poster I first saw in Oat Willies in another lifetime. "Patience my ass, I'm going to kill something" was the caption under a painted scene of two buzzards surveying a barren landscape. The other story, well incident, was of a drive by my boys and I down Six Mile road to see my brother. We smacked a big buzzard pulling off of a fresh road kill, and gave him/her a body shot with my windshield. The bird emptied a gullet full of carillon onto my hood and windshield, and flew about it's merry way. Natures garbage disposals are as tough as a damn dumpster apparently. The boys still talk about it, and I still do my gag reflex, recalling hosing off my pickup.