Vultures are like lawyers: nobody likes them until they need them, and boy do we need them, writes Constance Casey in a soaring defense of the misunderstood bird in Slate. Their business may be unpleasant, but vultures are essential in disposing of rotting carrion and warding off disease. “They aren’t really birds of prey,” Casey insists. “They’re birds of clean-up.”
Vultures are not only practical (their baldness cuts down on preening after a bloody meal), they’re also graceful (they ride air currents for hours without flapping their wings). Vultures don’t swoop in for the kill, instead preferring meals that are at least 2 days dead, and says one advocate, “Their waste is as clean as any waste can be.” Now how about those pigeons?