Either I have the most fastidious buzzards in the western hemisphere, or there's something unusually unsavory about my snakes. The dead snake that the gardener killed has been lying on a flat rock in my yard for the last two days. I had hopes that predatory creatures would dispose of it for me, and my hopes rose when I saw two turkey vultures, a/k/a buzzards, strutting across the mown grass this afternoon.
Naturally, my first thought was, "Get a picture." But I had no sooner grabbed my camera and eased toward the back door when the two birds turned their backs on me and flew off. Within a few minutes one of them returned, and it danced around the snake carcass for most of the next hour.
It would spread its wings as it walked, as if to block out the view of any other potential customers. It hopped up on top of a small wooden post, and then onto a pile of decorative rocks. All the while it was eyeing the snake but not getting close enough to strike. Maybe the flies and ants were putting it off. They were certainly putting me off.
As it circled its prey, it would often stop and cock its head, making sure the competition kept its distance. If only it knew how little competition there was. I had no designs on either the big bird or the dead snake. In fact, I was totally on the buzzard's side, hoping for it to get a quick meal and take off. I kept my distance this time, not daring to let it hear the motor on my digital camera clicking on.
Finally, the bird hopped on the rock with the snake and took a quick bite. Before I could move to the other window for a better view, the buzzard was gone and the snake was on the ground. I couldn't imagine what was so bad about this snake that even a buzzard wouldn't finish it off. I waited and waited for the bird to come back, but eventually I had to investigate.
The snake no longer had either a head or a tail, so some parts must have been tasty. It was about half the size it had been. I took a forked stick and picked up what was left, then threw it over the fence into the field. Yeah, the stick, too. I came in and washed my hands, and then washed my hands again, and this ugly incident was over.
I've seen buzzards on my very own street hovering around something so dead it was pressed into the pavement. They were so eager to feast on whatever it was that they hung in until my car was almost on top of them before flying a few feet away. After I'd run over their prey, they were back in place before I could even check them out in the rear view mirror.
I'm just wondering how that disgusting glob of grossness could be better than my lovely, nearly intact snake. Just wondering. It doesn't really matter.