Weekly Chat (Non-Osprey), 1 August 2021


I hope everyone has a wonderful, healthy, safe week. 

  • Hi, all!

    I thought I'd tell a true bird story to start off the week. Apologies to the couple of people on my Facebook list who've already heard this. I don't think I've mentioned it on this thread, though, so I hope I'm not repeating myself here.

    We have Black Vultures (Coragyps atratusmoving into my county. They’re native to the southern U.S. as well as Mexico and much of South America. They settled into southern Indiana some time ago, but now they’re making my region home, almost certainly due to climate change. These birds are unlike the carrion-eating Turkey Vultures that have always lived here, and they have some very strange behaviors.

    Besides carrion, roadkill, etc., they sometimes kill and eat prey, especially young livestock, such as calves. So, the farmers aren’t happy with their arrival here. They’re difficult to deter away from farm stock.

    Even weirder, the birds have an obsession with the rubber on cars and homes. They’ll land on a vehicle and strip off all the rubber from the windshield wipers, the door seals, and the sun roof, and they damage tires. They remove the rubber and discard it; they don’t eat it.

    They’re extremely stubborn and fearless. A local state park with a large lake is having a challenging time keeping them from damaging visitors’ boats and trucks. Park employees have tried many tactics to scare them away, including noise cannons! They can’t even shoo them away by approaching them closely. They walk right up to them, but the birds simply vomit on them!

    Recently, I was going to my county superstore to get groceries, and I realized one of my car tires was a little low on air. I was using a tire pump to inflate the tire when a large black shadow blocked the sun over me. I looked up to see a Black Vulture, who was taking a serious interest in what I was doing. I recognized the species, because I’ve spent time hiking in the Everglades National Park in Florida (where they're a native bird). Later, I did some research and read about their influx into my area in the local newspapers. The next time I went outdoors, I checked my car and found that they'd stripped all the rubber off my windshield wipers!!!

    They’re fascinating and formidable birds. The way the species is spreading, it's possible that they could also end up in the U.K.

    Black Vulture
    U.S. National Park Service, NPS/Warren Bielenberg
    Photo labeled "Public Domain" (Copyright Free)

  • Geez Louise Diane: That's some predator, eating the rubber of cars. Are they prey to anything larger that could be 'imported'? Thanks for starting us off.

    Site seemed really slow but then it's the first of the month.
  • Thanks DIANE for a new week. I hadn’t associated vultures with your region. Rather nasty their tactics with rubber. One can’t exactly cover the car every time it is parked and it doesn’t sound as if one’s presence would deter them.

    I hope OG is progressing and is back “in print” again soon.

    Yesterday afternoon Dau & Co visited us. MissJ began showing us her gymnastic skills and the other two quickly followed. Backbends, wolf jumps, cartwheels, some a bit wobbly but better than I ever could have done. Of course their gym & swimming classes are off for the time being due to restrictions. We took advantage of S-i-l’s skills – he  repaired my garage clothes line, sorted OH’s mobile phone. . . and washed my car! The latter was not on the request list. Toast & vegemite was suggested for afternoon tea. I asked “triangles or squares”; all opted for triangles except G-pa who could not decide, so I cut his in funny shapes, which set the Trio giggling. They all left for home too late for me to make chicken pie, so we had pasties from the freezer. So it will be chicken pie tonight.

  • Just a thought

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Reinhold Niebuhr)

  • AQ: Sounds like a fun day with the family. I think today's 'thought' is something that comes much easier the older we get!

    Have a good Sunday everyone.
  • Good Morning. Thank you to Diane for starting us off again, and for the strange story of the vultures. Quite a conundrum to work out how to deter them!

    AQ - Glad you had an enjoyable visit from the family.

    Our little family are arriving this morning, so I have to dash -- must put the dog beds away & put some icing on my little cakes!

    Have a good Sunday, everyone!
  • Good afternoon, all.  Limpy and I visited Wales this week ....... if you like red kites click on this very handsome bird to see more photos:

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • Morning all:

    AQ:  I was thinking about Diane's vulture problem and wondering if there's any update on the mice infestation Down Under.

    Clare:  Thank you for super photos of the kites- more very efficient predators...but at least they don't eat cars.

    EE: Hope OG is doing better each day.  Was also wondering how the new mobility vehicle is and  if the Swedish lifter was installed?

  • In reply to Annette in SoCal:

    Annette: The Black Vultures have a wingspan of 5 feet, so they're large birds that don't have any natural predators. 

    Here's a one-minute video that shows this species attacking the windshield blades, door seals, etc. on a vehicle (so folks won't think I'm goofy!). Here's a balanced article from my local newspaper about the influx of them into my areaHere's a recent and very interesting short article about a Purdue University and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research project here in Indiana where scientists are trying to figure out why the Black Vultures are increasingly becoming predators rather than only scavengers--that is, they're killing young livestock instead of eating only carrion (roadkill, etc.). Scientists want to protect the birds, but also relax the pressure on farmers (who are becoming angry about the loss of their stock).

  • I'll be back later with replies. I'm looking at Clare's beautiful photography now. Woohoo!