Above it all, Below it all!

Majestic! Gracefully gliding high in the sky without even moving their wings. Silently riding the air currents, cruising around, diving down and soaring up like a fish in the sea. They look magnificent with the large span of their wings, the effortless flow of their flight and the ease by which they soar high in the sky. It’s very relaxing, awe inspiring and peaceful to watch them. These amazing creatures look very impressive from a distance. Then they land, and you think: “Really?”. How can such an awesome bird in flight look so ugly on land? Small bald heads. A hunchback. No colorful feathers. Very plain and uninteresting, to say the least. They walk funny and their body proportions seem off. It’s as if they were put together from leftover spare parts of other birds. Looks aside, vultures are amazing creatures! They, and the termites, are the cleanup crew of mother Nature. While termites are vegetarian, they eat dead plants and trees, vultures are the meat eaters. When animals die and their flesh starts to rot, the vultures eat them. What a great service they provide! It’s also a very smart strategy on their part: “Why waste my energy hunting and killing prey when I can just soar and surf the air currents, wait for someone else to do the dirty work for me and I just show up for the feast!”. In the sky, they’re above it all. On land, below it all. They’re the parentheses of life. Without them, we’d have lots of carrion, diseases, horrid smells and sights with which to deal. Their u shaped neck makes it easy for them to soar while looking down searching for dead animals, which gives them the hunchback look on the ground. Their bald head makes it easy to eat dead animals without getting their feathers matted with blood.
Of the 23 species of vultures, half of them are endangered due to habitat fragmentation, poisons, conflict with human activities and illegal killings. The less vultures there are in the world, the more deadly diseases we’ll have. In this case, it doesn’t even take a lot of imagination to see and feel the link. In some traditional cultures people dispose of their dead by placing the bodies high up on the mountains for the vultures to eat. What a great way to avoid waste on all levels, including the waste of valuable land which is better used to serve the living. Now that I know more about them, I find them beautiful, fascinating and absolutely awesome, even on land!
#vultures #costarica #nature #travel #birds #flight #adaptation #earth #life


2 thoughts on “Above it all, Below it all!

  1. Vultures are definitely awesome. When I go swimming, and just let myself drift, occasionally, one will make a flyby to see, whether I might be a tasty morsel. It’s very cool having them soar so close by.

    Like

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