This happened July 29,2015.
I rescued a black vulture;it seemed to be injured and was hanging around my mom’s place. I fed it dog food for a few days and then got in contact with AWARE, and Steve and I transported it to the facility.
I have worked at a small zoo, as I have mentioned, and we had turkey vultures there, so I had no problem with catching this bird and doing what needed to be done. Catching it was a bit of a hassle, as it could still run and flap away pretty fast even if it couldn’t fly. I brought over my leather welding gloves to protect my hands in case it bit, and two blankets, and instructed Steve to help me corner it, holding up the blankets and approaching it in a “V” formation. I was hoping to get it up against the house, but it slipped past us and got out into the pasture. Flopping over the fences with a large blanket still in hand, I went after it. One of the horses tried to stomp it, but in its running from her, it went back to where I needed it to go. Then we went round and round a tree about thirty times until Steve could get over the fence and get back in the game. He was instrumental in helping me corner it, and then I just threw the blanket over it as intended and tackled it like a linebacker.
Then it unloaded. Oh, yes, the all-too infamous means by which a vulture protects itself when attacked or threatened: VOMIT. This not only completely grosses out whomever is trying to grab the vulture but also lightens it for a quick takeoff. Convenient, eh? Well, having dealt with vultures before, I was prepared.
But I had forgotten the smell.
I described it as “acid sulfur dogfood nuclear bomb” on Facebook. As I instructed Steve to get the large animal carrier we had and to get it over the fence, pronto,it kept vomiting. By some miracle, I got none of it on me, but it did it again in the carrier, and we had to drive and hour to the rescue facility with the most ungodly stench imaginable permeating every inch of the car. Windows down, Steve driving with a napkin over his nose.
We got to AWARE without incident, and the kind and patient folks there took the vulture to the back and had me fill out forms. They hosed out my carrier as best they could and a volunteer out front showed us a box turtle and a milk snake that are kept in a cozy little enclosure in the front office. I left them a $25 donation, and we were on our way.
In checking on the bird, via its case number, I have gotten the answer of “No obvious injuries were found during his examination, however he will be closely observed for a while before he is moved outside!” so I am extremely curious as to its problem.
My car is finally unstinked now. It took 409, bleach, and two containers of baking soda.
My vulture was eventually moved to a facility to be a part of nature demonstrations. He never would fly, even though the vets could find nothing physically wrong with him.