International Vulture Awareness Day is Here!

I’m not sure if buzzards indulge in tongue in cheek humor or if The Athens Banner-Herald newspaper article that appeared in Friday’s paper is for real but I do know that it was a pretty weird article even for a college town the size of Athens. It was written by AndrĂ© Gallant and Gallant has interviewed Suki Janssen of the Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Recycling Division. That is a mouth full even for a kettle of buzzards. That’s what you call a group of the big birds circling the landfill according to Suki Janssen. If they all pile up in the trees, they are then referred to as a venue.

Amazing what you can learn in the newspapers but first you have got to half-way believe what you read and I’m not really good at believing what writers of the news attempt to translate from the person(s) they are interviewing (what they thought they heard) to what is true because generally the writer really knows little to nothing about the subject. That’s why I just like to make up things as I go along.

I know absolutely nothing about buzzards and vultures other than if you hit one on the road the bird is likely to cause serious damage to your car not the least of which is throwing up vile carrion all over it that has a stench which can probably never be erased.

Anyhow today is International Vulture Awareness Day at the landfill in Athens and I purposely waited until this late moment to tell you all about it because I cannot imagine anybody I know wanting to ride out to the landfill to visit one of the vulture education stations that has been set up by The Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail and The Oconee River Audubon Society. They even have binoculars for close-ups.

The only thing I remotely considered of interest is learning buzzards do not go to work until 10:00 AM but why should they worry about going sooner? Their meals are ‘ready to eat’ and breakfast will wait until brunch.

So here’s what you’re missing: the enchanting odor of rotting trash that emits sulfur fumes strong enough to knock you down (and to attract a vulture); If that doesn’t floor you these bad boys can use projectile vomit to run you back home; the vomit is so strong the stomach acids will kill botulism and melt the buttons off most shirts; buzzards have bald heads so they can poke around in large carcasses without ruffling lovely cranial feathers; last but not least in case you were still considering a buzzard instead of a cat or a Yorkie as a pet, buzzards defecate on themselves to keep cool.

Now that you have been given the ‘Vulture Culture” from a distance, please don’t thank me. In fact if you never mention it again I will be happy.

This interesting, thought-provoking article was beneficial to me in clearing up a serious concern I have had since we moved to Athens. The article gave the address of the landfill and it apparently is not too far from our house. For months I have set out on the back deck and watched dozens of buzzards circling overhead (in large kettles). I often thought they were watching me and, on occasion, I would leap to my feet and do wild Watusi dance steps while screaming whirling dervish chants of deliverance just so they would know I was still too agile to be dinner. Now I learn they’ve been out there circling the landfill the entire time. I was safe but just like Fats Waller always said, “One never knows, do one?”

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