Vultures, Part 2

On Tuesday, August 25, 2009, I was driving home from work.  I’ve talked about my crappy little town before, and the road I take when driving home.  Near my plantation and cat-cussing facility, off to the right on the main road, there are several fields that used to be pinelands.  The trees were cut down for timber in the last few years, and the ground is covered with the type of tree litter left over from the cutting of the limbs and trees.  The ground is low here and the water table is high, and there are areas of standing water.  Over the last year, the fields have become overgrown with weeds, some waist high or more.

This time, when I was almost home, I saw buzzards in the distance circling over an open field.  I counted at least 14, and I knew they were circling over something large.  I parked the car in the driveway, then I sat in my yard in a lounge chair, watching and wondering, and my curiosity got the best of me.  I set out across the road, climbed across the ditch and the barbed wire fence, and walked through several fields to try to get to where the buzzards were.   That was just too many buzzards for something not to be really wrong.  There was something big and dead out there, perhaps like a deer carcass.  Or a person.

I was still wearing my bright pink scrubs from work.  I must have made a sight, clambering along the deadfall, re-charting my course as I came to an obstacle or a low watery place.  But there was no one to see me, except the buzzards who continued to circle further along, then alight in the trees along the edge of the field, then flap silently further along.  I thought I heard a puppy crying in the distance. 

There was one large dead tree in the middle of the second field.  It looked like a scene out of that Disney movie, I think it was the Jungle Book, where the vultures perch and hop along the branches, waiting, waiting.  There were several brush piles around the tree, most piled higher than my head.  I was transfixed, staring at the vulture tree as I made my way around a brush pile when the smell hit me in the face.  It was like walking into an invisible wall of odor that enveloped you and covered you completely.  I didn’t see anything.  I wished I had my camera.  I went around another pile of brush.

It was a large heap of entrails, as big as a small car, rotting in the heat.


3 Responses to “Vultures, Part 2”

  1. Simba Says:

    First stop and think about what you’re saying. The number of birds does not correspond with the size of the carrion. Each bird is a thing unto itself. Each finds the food by itself. Just as many as finds a huge animal would theoretically find a small animal, or vs.
    Now, while you were walking through all of that brush and such, were you recalling that there are rattlesnakes in your part of the world, and that rattlesnakes will bite people, and that is not good? An old canebrake rattler will make you wish you were dead, and you just might get your wish.


  2. ruthrawls Says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, just don’t tell my mother.
    Interesting point that you make about the number of birds not corresponding with the size of the carrion. Did not assume that. It seemed logical that more birds equal more prize. Like if I win the lottery small, I will have few friends. If I hit the lottery big, I will have many friends.


  3. Simba Says:

    I’ve rethought it, and I think you are more correct than I was. The larger the carrion the larger the odor pattern is likely to be. Thus if a lot of vultures were circling and searching for dinner, the more likely it is that more of them would detect the odor, thus bringing more of them to supper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: