I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire

Confession time. I used to play a lot of World of Warcraft and though it may seem incongruous (being a peace lovin’ vegan) I really liked PvP. That’s player vs player gaming for any civilized person accidentally reading this. I spent far too many mornings logging in to meet up with like-minded murderous housewives. We’d group up and go out to a couple battlegrounds where we ruthlessly and relentlessly destroyed any member of the Alliance that we came across. On the surface we looked like normal housewives — sipping coffee, laughing and talking about how it is impossible to find a decent loaf of whole wheat bread. Nobody who knew us would have guessed that we were really a bunch of Orcs and horned beasts bent on genocidal slaughter.

One of my characters was a fire mage and when I played it I liked to listen to music. One of the songs on my playlist was The Ink Spots song I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire. I would laugh like an evil supervillainess and sing, “I just want to start a flame in your heart!” and POOF another elf went up in smoke. muhahahaha For the Horde!

So seeing THIS the other day actually caused a full stop as I walked through a nearby parking lot. Blowing up imaginary elves is one thing; this aspiration exists on a whole new level ….

jesus and the world on fireOf course it was on the back of an SUV. o.0

Thunderbirds — The Purifying Breeze

I have instructed my husband that when I die I would like a sky burial. I suppose there are rules forbidding that kind of thing for people though even the lowliest squirrel is rarely denied that privilege.

vulture

A Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus. The nostrils are smaller and the tail feathers are shorter than the Turkey Vulture’s.

Circled around this vulture was the local grackle gang. Most were perched in the trees looking down with I assume some jealousy. A few did hop down to the ground making wary approaches but none dared to truly interfere.

vulture3

Gourmet breakfast of pecan and sunflower fattened squirrel

The English word vulture comes from vulturus, which means ‘tearer.’ The grackles and I watched this vulture for a long time as it slowly and methodically tore off bits of meat with its sharp beak.

Then another vulture arrived. The red face told me it was a Turkey Vulture. The Latin name Cathartes aura is variously translated as purifying breeze or golden purifier. What a perfect description.

Like humans that eat meat, vultures prefer food that is freshly dead. I read that there is less incidence of disease and sickness where vultures are present in an environment.

But vultures won’t eat meat that has turned. I know this from experience, unfortunately. If a body gets too smelly I have to dial 311 for the City to come and collect.

adult turkey vulture2

I see vultures riding thermals here all the time. Our neighbourhood sits between the I-35 highway corridor and Airport Boulevard. Prime vulture territory not only because of the road kill potential but because these two busy roads are very wide creating lots of open space for vultures to spot carrion. Vultures have super keen eyesight. Turkey Vultures can also smell death from literally more than a mile away.

Vultures are huge birds. When I see one hanging from the sky I sometimes pretend it is a Thunderbird.

I was excited to see this posture. I was hoping to catch a shot of the famous horaltic pose where a vulture fully spreads its wings out — a distance of about six feet. Scientists have speculated that vultures do this for thermoregulation or to kill bacteria. Bah. I believe they do it because it probably feels nice to feel the wind push through your feathers.

But no luck. All it meant was that I startled it and it flew away.

red head turkey vulture

Vultures can live up to 16 years in the wild. You can kind of date the age of a vulture by how many warts have formed under its eyes..