Death By A Thousand Cuts

A little news from the countryside:

Perhaps you’ve seen some stories about the Black Vulture problem in rural areas. These birds usually feed on dead animals and serve a necessary purpose in the chain of life. Now, however, they have changed their habits. Instead of stopping over in their migration from South America to Canada, they have decided to just park it in middle America. Why? The most plausible theories are that climate change has caused this behavior.

This is not a new problem, but it is growing and is expected to worsen. If you do a search for “black vulture problem” you’ll learn that the larger flocks are making them so desperate for food that they are attacking small animals. Even larger animals have been wounded.

Someone in my county reported a small donkey was killed by a flock. I haven’t tried to confirm this so I hope I’m not adding to the sensational lore. You know how these things can go. I’m sure we’ll hear about a baby in Arkansas being whisked away from mama’s arms. So, I did a little reading to understand the scope of the problem. This publication from the USDA Wildlife Services was helpful.

Be advised that killing a Black Vulture without a permit (which you can obtain) is against the law. However, if a flock is attacking I am pretty sure you would be within your rights to protect yourself and your property. Don’t hold me to that. Killing migratory birds is serious stuff, but then, so is a flock of birds pecking at your dog.

Attacks by birds – – just one more way our changing climate is being expressed. It is not like we awaken one morning and discover we live in hell, it is death by a thousand cuts.

— Allen Brown