A case in point is a participant in the A-Z challenge. By the time we reach V we are twitching and muttering and heading under darkening skies down the crow road. Here I am mixing metaphors and scavengers but it's all the path of death.
Culture Vulture (H Zell)
In my novel Red Savannah, which is presently languishing in the waste baskets of half a dozen agents who I got round to sending it to, the vultures are seen low in the sky as an African adventure turns tragic.
In reality I'm not so sure if vultures can sense the approach of death, although they can certainly hone in on it once it has occurred. However, it's not unknown for vultures to attack sick and dying animals and they swarm over battlefields in large numbers.
They are also attuned to the demise of careers such as that of Rolf Harris
There are essentially two kinds of vultures - Old World Vultures associated with Asia and Africa and New World Vultures found in the Americas.
Old World vultures are not closely related to the New World Vultures. While the American vultures detect carrion by their keen sense of smell, which kicks in as far as a mile away, the Old World Vultures rely on eyesight.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is their bald heads, devoid of feathers. This helps the vulture remain clean when its head is shoved in a zebra carcass. Anything dead, really.
The largest of vultures is the Andean Condor which has a wingspan of up to 10.5 feet. I can never think of the Andean Condor without a mental image of folks wearing brightly colors blankets and blowing pan pipes coming to mind.
The Condor (Ester Inbar)
There are a few misconceptions about vultures but I'm not going to tell you they aren't badass. Get a budgie if you have any doubts.
And while it's not true that vultures' projectile vomit' on their attacker as a deliberate defense, this may be a distraction technique and it's a lot easier to fly away after jettisoning your lunch. Don't try this on Delta, even though you may want to when you see what's on the menu.
Vultures have played a part in some funerary rites. In the Zoroastrian tradition, the dead were put in towers, later described as the 'Towers of Silence' by an Englishman, and pecked by the vultures. This tradition continued into the 20th Century in Bombay.
Little Known Fact About the Vulture
A project called "Vulture Restaurant" is presently underway in Nepal to address the dwindling number of vultures. The "restaurant" is an open grassy area where naturally dying, sick, and old cows are fed to the vultures
What Not To Say to a Vulture
I'm dying to go to lunch