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Community photo entitled The Splendor of Vulture by Diane Rains on 05/04/2024 at Hudson, WI

The Splendor of Vulture

On 05/04/2024 05:54 pm by Diane Rains| Hudson, WI

Spring in the wild is a mad rush of fecund drama. Change is the ruling force of land, water, and sky as life and death swiftly trade places. Watching all of this unfold from a human perspective sometimes makes my head spin!

A few days ago Stu and I bore witness to a dazzling passion play here in the wilds of Punchinello Prairie. One of our local Red-tailed Hawks mortally wounded a rabbit near the edge of our prairie. But before he could claim his prize, Piano and Patty – the American Crow couple currently raising fledglings in our huge pines by the prairie – bullied the hawk away from his prey. With shrieks and aerial assault, fearless Piano chased the hawk high into the sky and away from our airspace. Twice the hawk tried to return for his meal, and twice he was thwarted by ebony fury. His children would not be fed rabbit. Not this time.

With the hawk no longer a threat, our diligent Crow parents finished off the rabbit and began feeding bits to their quiet, hidden children. I left my second story window then, empathically sad for the bunny and the hawk, but glad that the next generation of my beloved Crows received a bonanza of unexpected protein.

And then… everything changed again. I peeked out the window once more. Lo and behold, new players in the dinner drama had taken center stage: Vinny and Vonda, our local pair of Turkey Vultures. As Vinny perched high up on our derelict batbox, Vonda went to work on the rabbit carcass, much to the consternation of the Crows. They offered no serious resistance, though, knowing they were no match for a giant pair of Vultures! (Patty did attempt to slyly sidle up to the carcass, but Vinny would have no part of those shenanigans! “Mine!” quoth the Vulture.)

Vultures are sacred in the mythologies of many world cultures. To the Egyptians, Vulture was Mother Goddess and holy Regeneratrix, able to consume death and from it bring forth life. Vultures are sacred to me, too. We often see Vinny and Vonda coursing languidly through our skies. I greet them as they pass above me and offer improvised songs of their beauty and worth. In response, they sometimes grace me with a closer flyby, gazing into my eyes, but never before have they landed here.

I feel immensely privileged and awed!

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