Like a whole lot of other old wives’ story that seem to contain at the very least a modicum of truth, I’ve always believed the the only dead critter a buzzard i will not ~ eat is a skunk.

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Now I understand that’s not the case.

Part of the factor I clung to together a id was observation. A dead skunk in the center of the roadway seems to continue to be there a whole lot longer than a squirrel or possum or raccoon, every one of which are devoured in no time. In among the creepiest scene I’ve ever before witnessed—and, fittingly, it occurred right around Halloween last year— 2 dozen buzzards lined up follow me the spine of my barn roof wait their turn at a groundhog mine dogs had killed the day before. In much less than thirty minutes, nothing however its skeleton to be left.

When Sophie killed a skunk a pair of main ago, i figured it would remain at the edge of the woods where George threw it because that a long, long time. Not so. Early on the following morning, a big kettle that buzzards (the term provided when they’re flying together) was riding the thermals above the skunk’s final resting place.

Buzzards–and let me interrupt myself here to say the the correct term because that the birds i’m writing around is “vulture,” but somehow it simply doesn’t have the exact same punch—have an excellent sense that both sight and smell and also can residence in top top a food resource from an ext than a mile away. While buzzards periodically kill a severely okay or injured animal, they vastly favor meat that’s already dead. This is due to the fact that their legs and feet space so weak and also ill-formed the they can’t grasp prey that’s placing up a fight. And also because buzzards also have weak beaks, they have actually an simpler time choose apart flesh that’s already begun come decompose.

But they make up for these deficits in some impressive ways. Ceiling heads and necks permit buzzards to thrust their beaks deep into rotting carrion without worrying the bacteria and parasites could cling to their feathers. Buzzards’ stomach mountain is significantly stronger than various other animals’, for this reason they deserve to safely consume carcasses that are so decayed the nothing else would touch them. That’s why buzzards room so necessary to a healthy ecosystem.

And if blood and guts cling to the buzzards’ feet after a feeding frenzy? No problem. They simply urinate on themselves, which not just cools castle off however kills harmful germs. Buzzards don’t are afraid predators, either. When threatened, lock vomit. Not only does this horrify and also disgust potential predators, it also reduces the buzzard’s body weight so that he can much more easily paris away.

Talk about a brilliant design!

But earlier to whether buzzards eat skunks. What i’ve learned indigenous an exhaustive web search is that, given their druthers, buzzards choose meat that’s soft enough to tear apart however not all-the-way rotten. Some buzzard observers claim that buzzards would quite eat herbivores (such as deer, horses, cattle and sheep) than carnivores or omnivores, though evidence is anecdotal. Every buzzard professionals agree, however, the a wake up (yep, that’s the appropriate term for a team feeding together) of no hope hungry buzzards will eat anything it is dead. Consisting of a skunk.

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Though they have been well-known to leaving behind the scent glands. Also a lowly buzzard has to have some standards.