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2023 Reader Question 109

2023 Reader Question 109 published on 6 Comments on 2023 Reader Question 109

Thought you could escape a week without a gryphon? You FOOL. Unlike the moose goose and the wolverine owl, I think this would would actually be kinda chill. Just chewin’ on bones.

It’s December, which means it’s time for SKIN DEEP PIN CLUB to open again! Join in December and stay on thru February and you’ll get a PHINEAS THE RED pin with an opalescent red mane, and also his best friend RAVI!


For anyone not in the know, Bearded Vultures are black and white!

The red color comes from them finding richly pigmented clay and rubbing it into their plumage.

Fascinating habit.

Also, the human stomach is absurdly acidic, closer in pH to carrion birds like vultures than to many other mammals. That’s why things like ulcers and GERD are such a big deal in humans in particular!

Its also a big part of why we can have such a diverse diet- as long as we can avoid infection in the mouth area, we can tolerate a great deal of potentially hazardous substances and digest complex materials (despite the relatively short length of our digestive system) simply because of the corrosive intensity of our stomach.

Vultures get such a bad rap, but despite being so distant from us, the things that enable them to clean up the landscape are what help to enrich our own culinary landscape and greater culture.
And they’re just nifty creatures to boot. They really need more love.

Oh, absolutely. I do so love what various animals do for … well, whatever reason. From keeping cool, to making themselves look more striking for their mates.

Then there’s the Pesquet’s parrot. Lovely plumage!

And then there’s the whole ‘things only visible in UV’ aspect of other birds. Porphyrins are amazing.

Which does bring up the question: would a gallinaceous gryphon have those markings, and would they be able to see into UV? They’d probably have the WILDEST fashions, but are always upset most other folks can’t appreciate it because they literally cannot see the colors.

“The buzzards strutted, preened, and quarrelled over dinner; it was not yet properly cured. They waited a few days for the wolves. There was plenty for all. Finally they ate the Poet.
As always, the wild black scavengers of the skies laid their eggs in season and lovingly fed their young. They soared high over prairies and mountains and plains, searching for the fulfillment of that share of life’s destiny which was theirs according to the plan of Nature. Their philosophers demonstrated by unaided reason alone that the Supreme Cathartes aura regnans has created the world especially for buzzards. They worshipped him with hearty appetites for many centuries.”
~ A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller

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