Our strange thing of the day is vultures.
Vultures certainly look strange. They have bald heads and seems to have hunched shoulders and hop around awkwardly on the ground. The one pictures above is even named Igor. He’s a rescue and tours with a group that rescues raptors and similar birds. They have hawks and falcons and owls, but one of my favorites is Igor the vulture.
Vultures had bald heads for cleanliness reasons. It’s harder for something gross to grow on skin, which is easier to clean than feathers, and vultures are always sticking their beaks and heads into things that we would find gross. But vultures also serve a very important purpose. They’re immune to most diseases and eat dead creatures which helps cut down on the spread of disease.
Vultures are also pretty smart. Igor, who I see at a Renaissance Festival every fall, has learned to identify not only turkey legs, but the paper they’re wrapped in. So of course he’s always hopping down the main aisle between the benches looking to see if anyone’s dropped one.
Another strange fact about vultures is their defense mechanism. When threatened, vultures will puke. I imagine this is a pretty good deterrent. What they eat started out pretty gross, so I can only imagine how much worse it would be regurgitated.
So that’s some of the strange facts I happen to know about vultures. It’s amazing the things you can learn at a Renaissance Festival.
Do you know any other facts about vultures? Have you seen one up close before?