As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Bird of Prey That Is Being Killed Off by Its Victims

By Simon Barnes / October 11, 2014 3:40 AM EDT

"I eat like a vulture,” Groucho Marx said. “Unfortunately the resemblance doesn’t end there.” William Brown of the Just William books, required by his fragrant school-teacher to write a poem about birds, came up with:

“I circle round and round and then

Dead men I eat, I eat dead men.”

Which is as elegant a tribute to the vulture as we could wish for.

So yes, humans have always felt uneasy about vultures, uncomfortable with their association with death and finding their scavenging habits sordid and uninspiring. The vultures’ tendency to naked and unfeathered heads and necks makes them ugly in human eyes; we don’t consider the fact that feathers get clogged and matted when repeatedly stuffed into corpses. Nor would we find that thought helpful in exciting sympathy for vulture kind.

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