A vulture that may be eating the other birds in the park—geese and ducks—so beloved of neighbors, seems to have gathered in Land Park in force, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.
“For years, Dan Airola has monitored purple martins, a small, graceful bird that has found unusual nesting spots under local freeways.
“Now he’s studying birds people find less attractive: turkey vultures, roosting by the hundreds in William Land Park.
“They eat rotting flesh, vomit the stinky contents of their stomachs when they feel threatened and defecate on their own legs for temperature regulation.
“What’s not to like?” Airola asked in jest.
“His study is not about liking, though. It’s about collecting information and understanding.
“I’m an ornithologist by training,” Airola said.
“This is an unfunded study. He just became curious about the large colony he saw in the park.
“I said, ‘I wonder what’s going on here,’ ” he said.
“After a year, he still isn’t sure what’s going on, but at least he has some data.
“His highest count: 493 turkey vultures last Sunday.
“Vultures roost overnight in tall trees along 13th Avenue east of Land Park Drive and along 11th Avenue west of the drive.
“Evidence litters the ground in the form of white smelly droppings, fur pellets (the indigestible parts of things they eat) and lots of feathers.
“If you don’t notice the vultures in the trees, you might think someone’s plucking the park pond’s ducks and geese.
“I used to think that myself before I paid attention,” Airola said.”