The Vulture Advocate
by Shane Deruise Photography
Stone went on to preach that, "Vulture meals involve no frenzied chase or bloody kill—in fact, no haste or suffering at all. The birds do not circle over dying things; the implication of the common cartoon image of vultures above the crawling man in the desert is slanderous! Vultures wait a couple of days till the spirit of the deceased has safely departed and gases begin to leak from the decomposing corpse."
Set on proving his point Stone took a small group of his colleagues to the peak of Three Top Mountain near Boone, NC. Here he had been raising Patsy and Gregory, two king vultures, close cousins to the bald, red-wrinkle-headed turkey vulture. "Vultures, whose name comes from vellere, Latin for to tear, begin their eating at vulnerable spots on the carcass—the anus and eyes." quipped Stone. He went on to say that vulture baldness means not having to preen feathers after dipping into a bloody carcass.
During his presentation, for all his intellect and teachings, Stone (distracted by the vultures wingspan) slipped in the saturated piedmont clay, sending him over the side of the ridge; eviscerating himself on his skinning knife along the way. Patsy and Gregory couldn't wait to help themselves to one last warm meal from Mr. Stone.