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Saturday, March 3, 2012


You first notice the warning signs in the Everglades National Park and wonder, "How can a bird hurt a car?". Then, you see the big black vultures perched on parked vehicles ripping the rubber that seals the windows shut.

We had arrived at Nine-Mile Pond last month to go on one of the park's free canoe adventures. As Francesca and I watched the birds in action, it didn't seem like such a great deal if, while we were paddling,
vultures were dining on our Toyota.
I did my best to scare them off. They just flapped to the side and waited for me to leave. They know that humans eventually go away.

Francesca and I noticed many people had tied plastic bags to their cars to scare the
birds. The thin plastic bounced around in the breeze. Having no such bags, we spread a blanket over our
van, tied it down, and paddled off.
Our guide led us on a three-mile tour. As we made our way through mangrove tunnels and searched for crocodiles I
kept thinking about how this "free" adventure might cost us hundreds in car repairs. Thankfully, at some point I forgot about the vultures and actually enjoyed myself.
After three hours we rounded the last turn home. I grabbed the binoculars and saw our camper intact, still somewhat protected by our flapping picnic blanket. The birds were eating a Chevy Silverado nearby.
Detroit rubber is mm-mm good.
Earlier our ranger guide explained that the vultures rip rubber out of boredom, "They're adolescents, too young to hang
with the big guys, so they do this to pass the time".

There was no rubber left on ranger's truck. She seemed okay with it as it was owned by the government.

The daily canoe trips are great fun provided to you by the American taxpayer. You may want to try it before the
mosquitoes the over in May. Reservations can be made by calling (239) 695-2945.

Last weekend a friend of mine took the
guided tour. She reported that there were no big birds hanging around the parking lot.
Apparently they've gone north for the season. South Florida's turkey vultures
summer in Ohio.

I'm calling my friends in Columbus to warn them now.


  1. Last weekend was the first time I have ever seen such a sign. We too were lucky. Apparently Vultures don't care for Japanese rubber.
    Thanks for the tip, we had a memorable day.

  2. Those are Black Vultures in the photos, not Turkey Vultures