Back in January, Wildlife Watch started getting hotline calls about a black vulture who was unable to fly (but could he run!) We rushed out with our cat carrier and trusty gloves, after enlisting the caller who said he could catch him if we brought the paraphernalia. The chase started with several people who were certain they could outsmart an incapacitated vulture, but he turned the tables on everyone and managed to get away by hopping, skipping, sprinting, and sort of flying over brambles and hilly, stony areas. Eventually he ended up in a neighborhood, blocks from where we had started off. Alarmed neighbors came out to see what was going on with so many people in their backyards. Then, they too became involved in trying to catch this wily bird. All efforts were to no avail. Days later, another call came in from folks who spotted the bird behind a restaurant, and by this time we suggested they call the best wildlife and domestic animal catcher in the business: Kevin Hindman. Kevin works with Missy Runyan of FFF Wildlife Center. He’s brilliant at humanely capturing the toughest cases and bringing them to FFF for treatment and release. Sure enough, after the fifth sighting, and Kevin’s relentless spirit, the bird finally found himself in a vulnerable place, and Kevin was able to capture him.
Missy sent this photo when he first arrived, and it appeared that the vulture was still strong. Missy reported that he had an old fracture and infection. Later she reported that “The fracture healed with nice alignment and the wing may be completely salvageable with physical therapy and antibiotics.” Well, we guess so since he was released in New Paltz sometime in April. She said he was a “tough one.” “Eat, puke, bark, bite…like treating a rabid dog.”
Missy Runyan is founder of the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center. If you wish to help out with donations, you can visit these sites: