Birds of Prey teaches about declining vulture populations

Posted at 4:26 PM, Sep 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 23:09:14-04

As scavengers, vultures rely on hunters to leave food scraps for their meals. 

"Whenever we go hunting, there's a mess, we can't clean it all up, and we might leave that in the field, and when we're gone, the turkey vultures come in and clean it all up," said education coordinator for the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey, Curtis Evans. 

They also rely on us to keep them alive in other ways. Sixteen of the twenty-three vulture species are endangered or threatened.  On international vulture awareness day, The World Center for Birds of Prey is reminding everyone just how important these birds are to the ecosystem. 

"Without them, there are places in the world where they've lost their condors, and their people are sicker, diseases are more widespread," said Evans. 

Idaho's native vulture species is the Turkey Vulture, which thankfully isn't on the endangered list. One critically endangered species being bred at the center is the California Condor, due to lead exposure in the environment. 

"They're consuming lead, and that's causing the same thing it would cause use, brain damage, and paralysis," said Evans. 

Even the youngest bird watchers in attendance have a soft spot for the creatures. 

"I like how they fly, their wings are pretty, and they have pretty beaks like this one has a white beak," said attendee Savannah Armstrong. 

And they don't want to see a world without these birds. 

"They get rid of the mice, they get rid of bugs and yeah if they don't we'll have tons of bugs crawling around," said Armstrong. 

The center hopes one day all condors will live in the wild, but it's not a safe environment just yet.