Four years ago, I was introduced to a little ball of downy feathers by the name of Buffy.
She is a vulture that had been rescued and was in the process of being rehabilitated with the hopes of being able to be released back into the wild. This is a precarious task and care must be taken so that the young bird has the skills to survive on their own. Buffy has thrived and grown to be independent, but would often visit her home in the Texas Hill Country were she was hand fed as a fledgling. She bonded with her caregiver, my friend Bruce who has raised numerous birds and animals of all species.
Her BFF is another young Vulture that was orphaned named Fluffy. Through the years I have grown to appreciate the beauty and respect the role in nature of all birds of prey. Our ranch south of San Antonio was the place chosen for the two buddies to be released and we hoped that they would stay nearby so that we would be able to watch them raise their family.
They never looked back when we released them that day two weeks ago. I worried that they were disoriented, cold and scared in their new environment 100 miles from their home. Buffy had encountered a few mishaps through the years. She always came back to Poppa Bruce. One crash involved surgery to her beak.
She lost a toe nail and we thought she was going to bleed to death. A swig of anti-freeze took a few days to recover. To put it bluntly, I love that bird Buffy and her BFF Fluffy. Everyday these last few weeks I call out to every Vulture I see. “Is that you, Buffy?”