Monday, December 28, 2009

The bird who eats cars...

If you have been following my blog, you know that I love birds. I’ve been watching them for a long time and have lots of books about their lives and nesting habits. Seeing a bird I’ve never seen before is a cause for celebration and on this trip we saw two. On Sanibel Island at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Christmas Eve afternoon I saw three male Magnificent Frigatebirds. So, fire up your computers and look one up, they’re amazing. The second bird we ran into yesterday and today – the bird that eats cars. Yesterday we visited Royal Palms in Everglades National Park and walked the Anhinga Trail. We had to ask why the dead black vulture was hanging from a post in the parking lot. Seems the vultures have taken to eating the rubber off of cars. Yep, just like the parrots in New Zealand, the vultures have developed a taste for rubber. The lady in the gift shop covers her car with a car cover that has been torn by the birds and periodically runs outside to shoo them off of her car (the theory behind the dead vulture is supposedly they won’t roost around a dead one – this theory is wrong). This morning Carl and I went back to the Anhinga trail very early. Since our mothers didn’t raise any stupid children, we wrapped a towel around our windshield wipers and toddled off down the trail. My husband takes photographs so after I did a loop, I went back to the car to wait for him. There were six vultures sitting on top of our car when I got back. I used our journal (where we record where we’ve been, what we’ve seen and what we’d like to see again) to slam the roof and chase them off. While I was sitting in the car, I could hear them walking around overhead so I would reach out the window and slam the journal on the roof again to scare them. While I was reading my paper, some commotion in the grass caught my eye. Five vultures were fighting over a boat shoe. Someone obviously lost it and the vultures were attempting to eat it. When we took the towel off the wipers, we found they had pulled a rubber gasket out from under the hood by the wipers. Carl couldn’t get it back in and in an inspection of the car, found they had also pulled the gasket out of the back visor. They must have eaten that, it was just gone.

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