Cathartes Aura Septentrionalis…

…a.k.a. the Turkey Vulture. More on her later.

Team Stimey went to a nature center today. Hijinks ensued.

For example, in the Curiosity Corner, Quinn made an Algership for the Algernaut.

Quinn coined both of those terms, by the way.

Algernon should have stayed in there because there was danger afoot.

Spoiler alert: The eagle didn’t get him.

While the hijinks were fun, maybe the most exciting thing that happened today is that I may have found a whole new secondary mascot for Team Stimey. It’s not a rodent, which is why it has to be secondary, but if you’ll bear with me, you’ll see why I need to add it to the cast of characters here.

Who is so awesome that we need to bother to learn about a whole new set of non-rodent characteristics?

This fella here:

Her name is Precious, but I call her Semi-Precious.

She, if you couldn’t tell from the first sentence of this post, is a Turkey Vulture. I feel a kinship with little Semi-Precious. I took a picture of the information sign for you to read in full, but I can give you a list of the similarities between her and I after the photo.

I can only wish I had a beak though.

1. I’ve eaten carrion—fresh carrion. (All meat is in some stage of decay, right?)
2. I do not pursue live prey.
3. I am a cleanser of my environment, in that I have hired maids to clean my house.
4. My head is featherless.
5. If I were to soar, I might be mistaken for a hawk. Or a small dirigible.
6. Again, I do not hunt my food.
7. “Peace Eagle” was my nickname in high school.*

But the clincher, the thing that sent me back to gaze in tenderness at my new friend, Semi-Precious, was the last sentence on the sign.

“Turkey vultures vomit as a form of self protection.”

She is clearly Team Stimey material. Fortunately, she did not vomit while we were there. Although part of me wonders if the nature center staff made that up to keep people from harassing her and claiming her as their own.

Hmmm. Hang on.

Okay. Wikipedia (which is always accurate) says, and I quote, “Its primary form of defense is regurgitating semi-digested meat, a foul-smelling substance which deters most creatures intent on raiding a vulture nest.”

I’m convinced. And deterred from raiding its nest.

Oh, and also, I have the same wingspan as a Turkey Vulture. I don’t think I have to say anything else.

I’m taller though.

Please join me in welcoming secondary mascot Semi-Precious the Turkey Vulture.

May she never puke on any of you.

* I may be lying about this one.

*****

Even though my kids are not very good at going to museums, I always seem to forget that and agree to go when invited. This happened last Sunday, when Jack, Quinn, and I took my sister and her kids to the Natural History Museum. Naturally I wrote about the experience over at White Knuckle Parenting on the Wheaton Patch. Check it out!

10 thoughts on “Cathartes Aura Septentrionalis…

  1. “Taller than a turkey vulture” is how I’ll be describing my height from now on. Doctor wielding BMI chart: “And what is your height?” Swistle: “Taller than a turkey vulture.”

  2. The whole time I was reading this I was thinking of the vultures from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. 

    Noooo no no nooo.

  3. We recently saw a turkey vulture at a nature presentation, and we got quite a few head turns when my daughter declared “that’s mama’s favorite bird!” I even have a stuffed animal turkey vulture (cuddly toy, not taxidermy). They are extremely awesome birds.

  4. Do your kids ever watch Fetch with Ruff Ruffman on PBS? They did a whole episode on turkey vultures including a competition to devise the best PR pitch for them. It is episode 9 of season 4. I am technology/iPad challenged so can’t manage a link for u but if u can find it you would love it.

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