Jack & Jill The Vulture Twins

Aug 19 07:41 2010 David Bunch Print This Article

Probably this story of Jack and Jill, the Vulture Twins, would never have been written, if Betsy, Farmer Parsons' old brindle cow, had not refused to come up from the woods one night. But she wouldn't come, so Farmer Parsons had to go down after her.

Climbing up on a large log to see over the briar patches,Guest Posting he finally located her, but in getting off the log he stepped on a rotten spot and his foot went through to its hollow heart. Slipping into a hollow log would surprise any of us, but when a large black bird, with no feathers on its head, ran from the end of the log and with a defiant hiss, sprang into the air and flew away into the dusk - well, Farmer Parsons said, " I s'num."

His suspicions were aroused. He looked into the log through the hole that his foot had made and there on the bottom were two little creatures all covered with downy white feathers. Around them were broken bits of eggshell from which they had recently emerged. Thus it was that Jack and Jill, the Vulture Twins, were discovered in the place that was to be their home for more than one hundred days.

The first eight weeks of their lives they lived almost in seclusion. Only Farmer Parsons visited them, and he only occasionally. Their downy white plumage was fast disappearing, and in its place came a coat of heavy, dark brown feathers. Quite often, when they thought themselves unobserved, they ventured to the mouth of their large log and looked out into the world about them. At such times they appeared very small and hardly able to make their way in the outer world into which they were soon to venture.

But at the same time they were learning how to survive, that they had means of protecting themselves. Their bills were becoming hard and sharp to pick meat from bones of dead animals, because that is the way the vultures get their food. Their talons were also becoming sharp. They had yet another means of protection. This is not physically injurious like a scratch from a talon or a bite from the bill, but it is decidedly unpleasant. They have the power to regurgitate partly-digested food, and, as it was decayed before it ever entered the bird's stomach, it is most disagreeable and a very effective means of making humans and other enemies keep their distance.

How much longer would these birds be satisfied with a log home? Already they had learned how to fly and they needed only more strength and practice to enable them to soar through the sky like their parents. Would they remain until the next Sunday? The next Sunday came. With mingled emotions of doubt Farmer Parsons returned to the nest. But no defiant hiss greeted him, and it was evident that Jack and Jill had flown.

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