Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Vulture Eating Frenzy

My husband and I were driving through Marble Falls this afternoon when we saw six vultures on a roof of a business in Marble Falls. I got out of the car with my camera and noticed a nearby tree with ten more and a house across the creek with another four on the roof. I walked onto the porch of the business and saw fifteen more near the road, all around one skunk. There was even more birds circling around in the sky and a few perched on posts. I've never seen anything like it.

I stood on the grass taking pictures and decided to move closer. I walked up the porch and the birds on the roof turned to look at me, but didn't seem nervous. In fact, they seemed interested in what I was doing! Then Suddenly, one of the flying birds landed on the grass and the other birds became agitated. Another bird flew off the roof onto the grass, and within seconds it was a feeding frenzy with birds everywhere!

I've been a vegetarian most of my life, but it never has bothered me to watch vultures eat. To me, they are nature's housekeepers. This was strange, though. I've never seen vultures actually scrapping over food. No one ever fought, but there was so many of them, and so little food.

After discussing the event, we think what happened is one or two families spotted the food and landed, but didn't eat right away, then, perhaps, another family flying overhead also saw the skunk and started to land. It appeared as if there was at least three families, or venues--the ones on the roof of the business office, the ones across the creek in the tree and on the house roof, and the third group on the ground. I think the ones flying overhead were simply checking out the situation.

The birds across the creek in the tree and on the roof never actually involved themselves in the feeding. They watched, but made no move to join in. The only ones who were involved were the ones on the roof, on the ground, and the single bird who dropped down from the sky, but he could have been part of any one of the other families.

I guess what fascinated me the most was that, with all of those creatures, and that little piece of food, there really wasn't any fighting. There was scrambling for meat and birds flapping up and over trying to get out of the way, but no fighting. Even the little sparrows in my grapevines fight. The male cardinals around our house get into fights all the time during springtime mating season. The vultures, however, were not fighting. They were simply trying to eat.

No comments: