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Vultures Get a Bad Rap!

Portlanders Invited to Learn About One of Nature’s Amazing Recyclers at International Vulture Awareness Day, Sept. 1

Please join the Audubon Society of Portland as we celebrate nature's clean-up crews - vultures! Vultures may not be the prettiest of birds, but they perform a crucial recycling role in the environment by consuming dead animals that might otherwise spread disease. As part of International Vulture Awareness Day, the Audubon Society of Portland is throwing a party for these amazing but threatened birds Saturday, Sept. 1.

Vultures Get a Bad Rap!

Ruby, a 4-year-old turkey vulture in Audubon’s education program, will be present throughout the celebration.

Portland, Ore. Aug 14, 2012

Please join the Audubon Society of Portland as we celebrate nature's clean-up crews - vultures! Vultures may not be the prettiest of birds, but they perform a crucial recycling role in the environment by consuming dead animals that might otherwise spread disease. As part of International Vulture Awareness Day, the Audubon Society of Portland is throwing a party for these amazing but threatened birds Saturday, Sept. 1.

This free, family-friendly event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a scavenger hunt, crafts, learning stations, and a chance to meet Ruby, the Audubon Society of Portland’s turkey vulture. All activities will take place at Audubon’s main campus at 5151 NW Cornell Road, Portland, Ore.

Besides being caretakers of the planet, vultures are also seen as ecological sentinels. Their populations usually reflect the health of an entire ecosystem. Unfortunately, vulture populations across the world are falling at sharp rates. Scientists estimate there are currently less than half the number of vultures in the world than there were 15 years ago.

One major challenge vultures face is habitat loss. As human populations grow, nesting areas and food sources for the birds shrink. Vultures are also hunted for sport and their body parts are used in some traditional folk medicines. Some vulture species’ populations have plummeted because they ingest lead ammunition from the carcasses they eat.  Possibly the most drastic downturn has occurred in Asia, where vultures eat dead work cattle that have been medicated with the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenec. Vultures are sensitive to this drug and are severely sickened or killed when they consume it.

Vulture Awareness Day is being celebrated internationally. It was first organized by the Bird of Prey Working Group in South Africa, the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, and their partners. The day’s aim is to create awareness of the plight of all vulture species worldwide and to highlight the work done by conservationists who monitor vulture populations and take steps to conserve the birds and their habitat.

For more information, please contact:
Deanna Sawtelle, Volunteer Manager
503-292-6855 ext. 108
dsawtelle@audubonportland.org

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