Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dear Bird Correspondent

And now the bird correspondent tackles McNeil's question about the buzzard. To begin with, she affirms that "buzzard" is synonymous with "vulture" in the rural Southern U.S. "But if you go over to Europe, a buzzard is brown hawk closely related to our red-tailed hawk," she adds. "I would also find it ominous to see a vulture perched on a suburban roof, which is odd behavior. Because of their very tiny brains, I'd hesitate to credit this species with psychic ability. It probably smells something dead at your neighbor's house. Vultures are the only birds with a sense of smell, and it's highly developed. If something is dead they will find it. Is your consternation related to suspected murder or, like, the ritual sacrifice of small animals? Incidentally, I've always found it creepy how many vultures there are (a lot!) in the state of Florida relative to road kill (not so much)." The bird correspondent goes on to make a joke about the retirement homes of Florida, a kind of joke that is too morbid for the peppy spirit of the "blog." Even that "small animal" crack was pretty close but we let it slip by. We can see once again our profound differences with the bird correspondent in the matter of love for small mammals. We can only assume that her remark is directed at cats, as usual. (The accompanying illustration was sent by the bird correspondent as another shaming jape. We imagine she is implying that THIS is how big of a thing I hallucinated in the yard. In any case, it is nice to have an illustration, as the angry progeny of Sir Vincent Raven [I can only assume] have removed my photo of that fine old gentleman.) P.P.S. That's weird! As soon as I typed the former parenthetical statement, the picture of Sir Vincent Raven came back! But for how long...?