Nature Notebook – Val’s New Home
Val, the vulture, has received an early Christmas gift…new digs. Her new, modern apartment was a gift from the Kevin Hardke memorial. She will soon have a neighbor, a rehabilitated but non-releasable barred owl, thanks to the generous benefactor who found the injured owl. A dedicated group of volunteer builders cleared the land and erected the new structure in a private spot so that the birds are not frightened by passers-by.
“Hisssss!!” That is vulture-speak (they don’t have vocal cords) for “thank you” to Charlie Kozup, John Mitchell, Mark Dykstra, Bill Ott and Rich Orosz.
Val will be able to use her new windows to sun herself for warmth and to rid her feathers of any invertebrate hitchhikers. She can also watch the forest activity from her new perch. This is important because turkey vultures are very social and very intelligent. The vulture-“television” will help keep her brain engaged and fend off boredom.
Carolyn, her trainer, gives her large bones from the butcher as another form of enrichment. Pumpkins and dog Kong toys are next. A bored vulture can become a destructive vulture. We want Val to be entertained and happy as one of our raptor ambassadors.