In all honesty, I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of writing about vulture vomit. The feathered flesh-eaters aren't exactly the cutest winged creatures in the sky, and their dietary habits are somewhat stomach-turning. But learning about vultures' upchuck defense mechanism proved to be a surprisingly fun experience since I ran across a wagonload of fascinating facts that altered my negative perception regarding the birds of prey. First, vultures' taste for rotting flesh serves an important purpose of preventing the spread of diseases and bacteria. They aren't alone in their tendencies to puke on threatening passersby, either; stately herons, gulls and terns also rely on the vomit defense. And without their extremely acidic stomachs, vultures wouldn't meet the employee qualifications for working as Mother Nature's much-needed garbage collectors.
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- "Vultures." Peregrine Fund. (Oct. 7, 2008) http://www.peregrinefund.org/Explore_Raptors/vultures/vultmain.html