Apr 21, 2022
In addition to antibacterial behaviors, turkey vultures have developed excellent immune systems that can ward off and even destroy the microbes that cause botulism, anthrax, cholera, and salmonella. Their stomachs, gross as they may seem, help purify our world. Can you imagine a world in which dead things all rotted slowly in place? Turkey vultures embody the fact that “the secret name of every death is life again.” (Mary Oliver, Skunk Cabbage)
The story of the vultures—of winter’s rotting wounds transformed and purified, of the purifier rising up into the sky, of it returning to cleanse the world again and again—sounds a lot like another story I often hear this time of year.