Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And The Subject Is...

I'm not going to dwell on the storm that hit overnight.  I brought up extra firewood, got the waterers for the chickens filled, and a bag of feed down to the barn for the girls.  Enough said.

I'm not going to extol the virtues of high-speed internet again.  I may suffer from a case of "solitaire" withdrawal because everything happens so quickly now, but I'll manage somehow.

The subject today is turkey vultures.  I did a bit of research (now that I have the capability) on the birds that frequent the farm.  I've just enjoyed being around them, but found that they're really neat creatures.  I've known that a group of quail is a covey, a group of crows is a murder (?!), a group of geese is a gaggle (who names these things?), but had no idea that a group of vultures is a venue, or that when they're circling in the sky, that's called a kettle.  "Buzzard" is a misnomer; buzzard is a class of European hawk.  Vultures are silent, not because they're antisocial, but because they have no voice box and can only hiss and grunt.  Why was that part left out during creation?  When the "venue" raise their wings to the Sun God, it is to warm and dry their wings, but also to bake off bacteria.  These birds are extremely hygienic.  Not only do they clean up disease-carrying carrion from the environment, their stomach acid is so strong that their poop has been sterilized so that it is bacteria free, too.  In fact, they are known to poop on their own feet to keep them free from germs (and also to cool off in the summer).  Their major form of defense is to vomit.  The smell of the bolus of rotted meat is enough to stop a predator in its tracks, and it also reduces the weight of the bird for a faster take off.  Vultures can smell a fresh kill over a mile away, and can see about that far, but they have no night vision.  They can soar on the thermals for six miles without flapping their five- to six-foot wing spans, and they do play in the air.  I think they're pretty darned cool.

And that's the subject for the day.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

I toooold you that you would have fun surfing the net/web and that the world would be at your very high speed. So thanks for the turkey vulture lesson - I found it fascinating. And hey...just go ahead and play solitaire anyway - we won't tell anyone!!