Monday, November 17, 2008

Personality Plus

Most of us have seen vultures riding thermals midmorning, soaring in kettles in the afternoon, drying their wings in the sun, or roosting just before dusk.
Many can even tell a turkey vulture from a black vulture in flight. But few have seen a vulture running on the ground in their half-skip, half-hop fashion all puffed up like a tom turkey. That is just what S.O.A.R.’s black vulture, Cayce, treated the audience to in their birds of prey show at the Sandhill Crane Festival in Birchwood, TN on Saturday. Personality plus is a good way to sum up this bird. Imprinted on humans at a very young age after falling out of the nest, she stole the show on Saturday with her amusing antics, as she hissed, hopped, bobbed her head in a dance-like fashion and followed Dale around the floor.


Below you can see the intrique on a few children's faces and her wingspan next to the size of her handler, Dale, as Cayce is about to demonstrate her flight skills. And she does, handsomely, skimming the heads of viewers with her long dangling toes.
Vultures are our scavengers, the birds that help clean up our world. They are intelligent and curious, and as you can see, have personality. I even have a naturalist friend, author Stephen Lyn Bales of Nature Calling, who muses about being a vulture in another life so he can sleep late, ride thermals and play in the wind.

But there are others who think vultures are unattractive, even ugly. What do you think?

Submitted to Bird Photography Weekly #12 at Birdfreak.com to promote the conservation of our world's birds.

10 comments:

  1. How cute was that! I'm still smiling.

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  2. Beautifully captured of festive atmosphere.
    Lovely dance by handsome vulture.
    Good trainer.

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  3. What a character! I really enjoyed the series of photos.

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  4. This birds sure has some character. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. "What do you think?" There is beauty in everything. If we see ugliness, then there is ugliness within ourselves.

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  6. Nice! your photos are eyecatching.

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  7. He's very, very cute! I am like everyone else--I see one and think, oh it's not a hawk, just a buzzard, or vulture, and I don't even consider stopping to watch or to photograph one. Shame on me! I'm glad Cayce was part of the demo....it's a good education for all of us!
    Marie

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  8. Hi Tabib. They received this young vulture when he was only a few months old. Everything he does is original!

    Hi Mick. Glad you enjoyed it. She was such fun for me too.

    Hi Amila. Yes, lots of character.

    Bernie, they are beautiful birds, with so much energy and curiosity. Its sometimes hard for people to see past a limited idea of beauty.

    Welcome Tom. Thank you!

    Hi Marie. We do tend to take lots of birds for granted. I've sometimes said, "oh, that's just a robin." And then yesterday, one popped up on a limb and gave me the cutest photo, as if to say, "there's no 'just' about it."

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  9. WE need vultures in our world or we would be overrun with disease and decay. They are an important part of our ecosystem. AND to be able to fly like that. What a joy it must be. Bev

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