Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Welcome to Sunniland

Like a hermit crab, we outgrew our home and had to move to a bigger place. Although L.A. was originally scratched from our home search back in April of 2009, it quickly became obvious that Lehigh Acres, FL would be the only place in Lee county that was suitable and on November 20th, 2009 we moved into our new home. I'll post more on "Sunniland" tomorrow for those interested in named places, oil fields and railroads but for the time being this is our new hermit crab shell.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Isn't it Ironic? Don't You Think?

Coincidence - the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.
Example - I write a post about Vultures and later in the day rescue an injured Turkey Vulture on the side of a busy highway.

Disgusting - a marked aversion aroused by something highly distasteful
Example - A black fly in your Chardonnay

Ironic - incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result
Example - A vulture that eats dead things in the road becomes roadkill after being hit in the road retrieving roadkill

State Road 82 is a terror of a two lane highway and collects its share of roadkill, animal and human and although I don't normally take this road home, I did today and hopefully a Turkey Vulture will be the better for it. As dump trucks and horse trailers zoomed by, I grabbed a tablecloth from the back of my car and dodge my way to the other side of the road where the injured bird flapped about helplessly.

I asked it calmly not to vomit on me as they often do to anything that stresses them. It peered up at me to wounded to regurgitate. I covered it and placed it in my car and made a quick call to C.R.O.W. - the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and asked what to do. They directed me to an Animal Hospital in Lehigh Acres where the bird would then be shuttled to the rehab hospital along with an injured Opossum. It livened me up to see that someone else had rescued a typically unloved animal as well.

It was an utterly efficient process and I can only hope they can patch the bald-headed beauty up so he can get back out there to clean up the roadkill. I don't wish to pat myself on the back. I only wish others might have considered rescuing this bird instead of leaving it on the side of the road to become roadkill itself. Please consider donating to CROW or your local animal rehaber.

Glad I took that route home. Isn't it coincidental? Don't you think?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recyclers of Rot

I was in a dumpster the other night. Each time a car would go by I would duck to avoid being spotted. I’d like to think friends would understand but strangers might pass by and judge. So I persisted in playing dumpster prairie dog until my goal was achieved.

This whole situation had me thinking of vultures. If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure the same logic might apply to the reviled and repulsive roadkill warriors who eat what few others will. Carrion. Dead stuff. Give them credit, the fresher the better and while eagles are proactive in shortening the lifespan of a fish and panthers are quick to change the expiration date of deer, vultures are more patient and more likely to let time or tires lay out a dinner spread.

Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) have an incredible sense of smell which is rare among birds. They also use excellent vision to spot a potential meal. While the notion of “the more rotten the better” has been dispelled, it’s the fresh carcass or the foul funk of a day old corpse that draws the Turkey Vulture in. Leave it for too long and leftovers will cause indigestion. Even vultures have their limits.

Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) rely entirely on their vision, circling on rising thermals like Turkey Vultures do to spot prey. But they also steal signs from Turkey Vultures, watching their cousins for clues to whereabouts of dead things and often gang up to steal a meal from the more timid red-headed scavengers.

Regardless of their non-lethal approach to feeding, Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures get a bad rap and despite the global movement to “go green,” the recyclers of rot are seen as nothing more than a roadside possum-lovin’ scavenger with a penchant for puking when threatened – which brings me back to my dumpster.

I shouldn’t be ashamed. I’m moving in a few days and I need boxes. Someone suggested I just buy fresh boxes, but why pay for something I can get for free? And like the vultures, I’m recycling. There’s gold in them there dumpsters! It just happens my treasure was in the trash.