Saturday, September 5, 2009

International Vulture Awareness Day

Vultures are totally some of the coolest things in nature. The first time I ever saw a vulture was in Pennsylvania, USA. Hiking through the forest with my my grandfather when I was about 6 or 7 years old. We were sitting quietly just resting after a walking up a hill. On a large, old branch just above our heads, two turkey vultures perched. I was in total awe as I had never been so close to such big birds and had no idea what they were. I still have that instant memory in my mind and have carried it with me all my life. Little did I know then as a small boy, that later in life I would be travelling the globe watching and photographing vultures along with all the other amazing birdlife that this great world holds

American Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus brasiliensis, Sucumbios, Ecuador

Ode to a Turkey Vulture

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Eurasian Griffon, Gyps fulvus fulvescens, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India

Today many species vulture species face extinction from eating contaminated carcasses. One of the great culprits is the drug Diclofenac used for cattle. However, there are many other culprits like poisoning carcasses to kill predators, use of vulture parts in traditional medicines, malaria and other disease, habitat loss and collision with power lines and other man made barriers. The outlook for some vultures is grim, but now the world is putting their attention to these great birds, and many projects are underway to stabilise the populations of some of the endangered vulture species. And there have been great success stories such as the California Condor.

Please join with Bird Explorers in promoting Vulture Awareness and helping to ensure that all vulture species have a bright and happy future soaring the skies of the world for long to come.

IVAD09 blog festival

Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus percnopterus, Kargi Waterhole, Chalbi Desert, Kenya

Hooded Vulture,immature, Necrosyrtes monachus, Marsabit National Park, Kenya

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Cathartes melambrotus, Sucumbios, Ecuadaor

African White-backed Vulture, Gyps africanus, Bromley, Zimbabwe

Eurasian Griffon, Gyps fulvus fulvescens, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India

Eurasian Griffon, Gyps fulvus fulvescens, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India