Learn about vulture behaviour and they interact. From my point of view, this is quite a steep learning curve. My first encounter with them was full of caution. And rightly so, it is important to understand vultures and how they interact with humans. Learn how to communicate with vultures and especially know the signals when they are irritated or possibly become angry. Vultures are some nifty creatures that always come up with something to surprise us.
The Lesson learned is that vultures are much more agile and able to learn than the majority of people might expect. When I first sat with vultures I was issued with a broom to fend them off if needed. It is not a broom or anything else that helps to get close with these birds. It is our authority that provides some sort of equality between us humans and vultures. If we fail to make clear who is in charge, they start playing with us, even kidding us. This is part of the pecking order. Even humans have to “qualify” for their position in a pecking order. In other words one has to earn a certain rank in an animal group. This goes for intra-species groups and also for mixed groups of several species.
Besides the broom is no longer needed but is a helpful element in keeping these “little” bastards busy. Joke. Actually, they are quite large.
Though, I the main point in this post is about the way Griffon vultures exercise their dominance or also show their lack of interest and leave the field to others by simply walking away. The following video shows a bit of inter-specific behaviour.
The Griffon first appears and the Rüppell’s Vultures are immediatly leave the field and move to the sidelines, waiting for their turn. Quite obviously, the broom is not interesting enough for the Griffon. The Griffon still remains close but does not show any interest and the Rüppell’s return to take possession of the broom with which they busy themselves.
Any encounter with vultures is interesting and instructive. We all grew up having wrong ideas and understandings on vultures as living creatures. Most people are afraid of them. Only after getting closer to them it becomes clear that vultures are lovely birds. Though, be careful with your fingers, only a slight snap with the huge bill can cause injuries. but engaging with vultures provides real pleasure and we learn that nearly everything they do is innate behaviour. At least I have earned my position amongst these vultures because they accept myself but still keep checking out how far they can go kidding me.
If you are interested in European Vulture Conservation please check out their site on 4vultures.org.
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