From: "Carl A. Johansson" <email@example.com>
Subject: Vulture story - was Re: Allright Stricker ---
Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 09:40:11 -0600
How'd you here about the anaconda? did I send you a copy or did someone
post it here???
I hate it when I don't know whats going on (although I ought to be used
to it by now).
Since you ask about the "buzzards"
I was privledged to find and climb inside of a King Vulture nest inside
a cave . There was a 6 week old chick in there. these guys are big -
1.5X as big as a turkey Vulture, and have a strong bill (other species
of Vultures wait around for King Vultures to show up to open carcasses
up, nobody else has the strength requires to rip open the cowhide).
Anyway I took Pictures, video and documented the site. This will become
the 5th nest site ever reported in the scientific literature, the first
cave site and the second with a chick inside.
Then the fun begins. This chick and I jockey for position as he
repeatedly rushes at me and tries to bite me (took a pretty good gouge
out of my field boots too!!) while I try to grab and control this guy
He's already 2 feet tall and weighs about 10 lbs.
Part of the problem is the cave. While I can stand at the mouth of
the cave and move around pretty well, the chick is back where the cave
is only 3 feet tall so he sits back there, waits till I get close (and
can't move very well) and then he comes at me. Eventually I get this
guy out in the open near the cave mouth, but now I have another problem.
(actually 2 problems!)
The cave sits about 40 feet over the lake - I take one to many steps
backward and I'm falling 40 feet into a lake filled with dead trees.
The second problem is that since I have moved him into the open he
becomes much more aggressive, and is continually rushing me!! Damn this
The only disapointing thing is that the adult (sitting in a tree about
25 yard away) doesn't get agressive and try to defend the chick also -
that, my friends, would have turned this expedition into a 3 stooges
So I take of my shirt and throw it at his head. While he's busy ripping
and tearing at the shirt, I grab him by the neck (to control the head)
and the legs (while they do not have the raptorial feet that do all the
damage, they do posess a nasty kick). Once I grab him and get control
of his head, he starts the typical vulture defence mechanism - he
starts puking up twice digested carrion all over me, the cameras, and my
fatally injured shirt!!! The smell -- well it's indescribable
(although the Warrior Princess tells me (on the QT) that Stricker smells
like that on a regular basis!!!!)
God I love doing all this stuff. I hope all of you get as much fun and
enjoyment out of your work as I do.
I was a little suprized at my reaction and emotions though. I have
always valued visits into peregrine Falcon eyries as extraordinary
experiences. Climbing up or down a cliff, hanging in space and dealing
with the chicks has been an almost spiritual experience for me. I value
those visits over all my other experiences in my work.
But I was struck with the same feeling when I entered the King Vulture
cave - I have visited litterally thoiusands of nests from over 100
species, and This is the first time that I put another species on par
with Peregrines in terms of the spiritual depth and emotion that it
Enough of this touchy feely crap. In fact seeing as how I'm moving to
California in a few months, (Mostly to bother O'ring) I have to steel
myself against the potential mind altering attitudes of Californians (of
which I am a Native of)
Stealing a quote from S.J. Gould (a giant in the biology field) which I
now have adopted as my guiding principle:
"Fron the depths of my skeptical and rationalist soul, I ask the lord to
protect me from Calfornia touchie-feeliedom"
> What I want to know is was he adopted by the buzzards whose nests
> he was crawling around in? Did any of them attempt to feed him?
> Did he gain any unique Buzzard insights? We heard all about Carl
> and the snake. How about Carl and the buzzards?
Carl Johansson, Guardian of Yahoo Central
"J-3 frontseater, P-51 backseater"
Avid Mark IV N2114N