**If you have an overflowing love of groundhogs proceed with caution while reading this article**
Welcome to a new segment called Big Bad Bird Moments, where we talk about stupid and evil birds with Ledyard High students and staff. Today’s article will be telling the story of Mr. Cartier and his dog’s summoning of some birds of prey.
Mr. Cartier had a dog named Lily, a German Pointer. A large dog with multi-colored fur around her chest and back, and large ears that flooded down and flopped around when she ran. Every day when she was let outside, she would chase a groundhog and do so for five years. Cartier was standing alongside his dog Lily as he watched his dog’s accomplishments. Lily looked quite proud of her work; she had finally caught a groundhog. The German pointer looked back up at Cartier with a happy face.
Mr. Cartier sighed, the groundhog was stomach up on the ground with its paws outstretched. Cartier knew that groundhogs could play dead, and they could do it for hours. The dog looked back to the small animal on the ground beside her. Cartier wondered if she expected the groundhog to suddenly get up and keep running. She stared at the large rodent, anticipating a sudden move the prey would make. The standstill lasted a long time before Cartier brought Lily back inside. “She looked almost bummed out,” Cartier stated, giving grand detail of his tale.
Cartier woke up the next morning with a start. He heard Lily barking lower in the house. He grumbled down the stairs and to the window where his dog was yapping. Cartier looked through and saw a terrifying sight. Large black masses were crowded on his lawn. They moved around in an odd fashion. It was as though they were playing with something. Cartier looked closer at the large moving black masses, his eyes adjusting to the bright morning light. As the black masses danced and hopped around as they tossed a football-like object around, Cartier noticed something poke out the top one of the masses: a long skinny neck with a grimacing beak emerged from the abyss of black feathers, reaching down to pick at the dead groundhog. It lifted the small animal off the ground and threw it to another large bird.
They were vultures. The large group of vultures had congregated on Cartier’s lawn after discovering the dead groundhog. Cartier and Lily were both mistaken, the groundhog had actually died in its last chase with the German Pointer. Now its lifeless body was being tossed around for the vultures to enjoy. They hopped and swayed around in a circle as they devoured the carcass. Cartier could only watch as they tore the animal to the bone on his own property.
Eventually, it was time to get ready for work and leave. He could still hear the whines of Lily as she looked outside the window, watching her prey for the last five years be reduced to a skeleton in front of her. Cartier was very nervous about going out to his car with a large wake of vultures in his lawn, although he couldn’t wait any longer, for he would be late to teach his first block woods class if he did. Eventually, he opened the door and moved outside.
The vultures stopped their circular motion, but continued to bounce around. They were aware of his presence now but didn’t seem too scared or intimidated. He made his way to his car away from the birds, making his short trip as fast as possible. He was able to leave and drive to school with no further interruptions. The interruption in his morning was on his mind the whole day, and it definitely gave him a great story. When he arrived home, the birds were gone, but they left the eviscerated corpse of the groundhog everywhere. He spent the rest of his evening cleaning up the remains making sure there was none left for Lily to find. After that Lily was very sad that she couldn’t chase the groundhog anymore, but Cartier was glad the vultures didn’t do anything to his family or his property.
Vultures don’t actually hunt at all, instead they wait for other animals to die. This includes other birds, they swoop in and clean up the remains. Vultures are very hospitable with territory and food with other vultures and allow them to eat with them even if they aren’t in the same group. When Cartier saw the vultures throw the groundhog around, the vultures were tearing parts of the rodent off to eat. Throwing it around also allows other vultures to get turns to get a bite. The little dance vultures do is primarily a mating dance, but what Cartier saw was a way for vultures to stay aware and vigilant. Vultures weigh only around two pounds, so they can’t carry food with them in flight, so they have to stay with the food on the ground. They move in a circle so predators have difficulty singling one of them out. This is a similar effect that zebras have with their stripes, the similar colors moving around can confuse predators, such as bobcats, hawks, and even snakes.
That is it for this Big Bad Bird Moments. I hope this story wasn´t too gruesome for you readers. The following article will be a double story, with both teacher and student. This is Zaden Allaire, and I will see you never.
Zaden Allaire, Staff Writer
Senior Zaden Allaire is a staff writer for the 2022-2023 Colonel Newsmagazine. An avid time
waster, Zaden Allaire is very bad at coming up with words to describe himself. He wastes no
time wasting time in class and doing all the work last minute with the grace of a bird that hit a
closed window. He spends precious time hanging out with his cats or best mates and has a rivalry
with his local turkey gang. Never one to leave empty space, drawings litter everything he owns.