Mike’s Musings- I had to share my home with vultures

Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor

I read with interest a story the other day about a North Carolina neighborhood that had literally been taken over by turkey vultures. It reminded me of my own personal encounter with swarming vultures.

Many of you are accustomed to my creature stories. While living in Florida my ex-wife stopped her vehicle as a pig was crossing the road. Assuming it was a pot-belly she lead the pig into her car and brought it home where it became a guest in our garage for several days. Later, we found out it was a wild pig and quickly dropped it off at a local pig farmer.

I also witnessed a Komodo Dragon running loose along side a Walmart parking lot in Florida. That’s right, this five foot dinosaur-like creature stopped traffic for ½ mile darting in and out of parking spots as bewildered shoppers wondered what to do. It soon disappeared into a swamp.

And then there was the day down there it was raining fish. Not one but two fish bounced off my windshield as I was traveling down the road to my Florida house. My carload of guests were utterly taken aback until I looked up and saw, not one but two Fish Hawks. Apparently they had lost the grip on the fish they had grabbed from the river, and as unlikely as this may sound, they both dropped them on my windshield at the same time.

But those stories pale to my battle with the turkey vultures. In the North Carolina episode, people complained mightily to city officials that the Vultures wouldn’t leave their yards. There were perhaps two hundred of the scary birds sitting around creating havoc.

Now if you haven’t seen a turkey vulture, you’re not missing anything. They are about the ugliest bird one could ever imagine. They, however, have powerful jaws, and look like they could rip your head off at a moment’s notice.

They occupied our Florida house, one winter. I mean literally stood guard. We had a wraparound porch. Like most home’s in our area it was enclosed. Three dozen of the birds would sit atop the enclosure and another dozen would man our dock. All day long they would flap their wings. They didn’t say much, but they pooped more than a Great Dane.

I tried my damndest to get rid of the birds. They were so darn ugly and such a nuisance. Locals would tell us when they swarmed over a home or path or road it met something was going to die. That always stuck in the back of my mind and was a further impetus to remove the flock of ugly birds.

I purchased a bb gun. I shot round after round into the vultures. They didn’t even bother to move. Next I bought a sling shot. That was an exercise in futility. With my fumbly figures and shakiness I couldn’t come close to nailing a vulture.

Of course I tried to shoo them away. These vultures were not afraid. I banged on the porch, I played loud music, I played opera music, I did it all- to no avail. Someone said to put bright colored towels out on the porch. Supposedly they were annoyed by bright colors. Not these birds- they pulled the towels off the rails and shredded them in to tiny pieces.

We finally gave up and decided we would simply cohabitate with the birds of prey. A few weeks later they all left. We all breathed a sigh of relief. We could now use the deck for our own purposes. We expected our vultures to return next year but they never did. Apparently they found a warmer welcome in North Carolina.