Silhouetted Vulture

Scavengers are often the Rodney Daingerfields of the animal world in that they don’t get much respect. Many people don’t appreciate the role that scavengers have around us – we think it’s yucky and gross but without them we’d be overrun with carrion, another name for a carcass. Consider how many scavengers, especially vultures and rarely owls, keep our roadways, fields, and lake edges clean of rotting dead animals.

Vultures are sometimes the victim of guilt by association. Just because a rancher in his pasture comes across recently dead livestock, like a newborn calf, and it’s surrounded by vultures doesn’t mean the vultures killed the animal. If the rancher didn’t witness the entire event, this should be considered an unreliable eyewitness account. Instead, the vultures got there fast and are nature’s cleanup crew.

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Respect the role that scavengers have in our environment. Many fear that vultures spread disease. On the contrary, by minimizing dead animals on the landscape, vultures help reduce the spread of bacteria and diseases like rabies, anthrax, botulism, cholera, and more. Allow birds like vultures to fulfill their role in nature. Remember that these birds are working for us and they’re working for free. Respect for all native species around us, including scavengers, can go a long way. Do it for the owls and other birds.

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