"Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before." -Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring
At the California Raptor Center, we think that Gandalf’s musings about hobbits apply equally to the magnificent Turkey Vulture: Turkey Vultures really are amazing creatures. These scavengers play an important role in the environment, clearing out carcasses, moving the nutrient cycle along, and dispersing nutrients across the landscape. They have a keen sense of smell—rare among birds—and are quite social. Those who train Turkey Vultures for educational programs are likely to tell you you that their trainees can be some of the most inquisitive and mischievous raptors out there.
It was with those latter characteristics in mind that CRC volunteers and staff decided on the names for the CRC’s new pair of Turkey Vulture ambassadors. We are pleased to announce that the duo has been dubbed Merry and Pippin, named after two of the cheerful, curious hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings.
You can read the full story of Merry and Pippin’s arrival at the CRC here.