Because of my deep love of wolves, I have often wondered how some animals throughout history have been chosen to be demonized while others have been revered. It seems to have carried over in our collective conscious for centuries. Even the animals that are eaten vary around the globe. My feeling has always been why is one life more valuable than another? That is also why I love St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. I think he gave animals far more credit than most and famously preached a sermon to the birds. Speaking of birds, I have noticed a lot of decorations going up for Halloween with crows, owls, and vultures. I know different stories around the first two from Native American culture and they do involve the spirit world. Perhaps their stories and myths made their way into Western culture. I also realize people can be repulsed by vultures. We saw one soaring recently and I explained to my little one they simply ate animals that were already dead. They don’t kill; they just clean up the mess. They serve a vital purpose in our world and I think they are interesting creatures. “Mama, like recyclers!” she exclaimed and decided they were cool. Then today I came across this young fellow as he was feeding on a squirrel some thoughtless driver ran over. He was just doing his job and surviving and I stopped to talk to him. He never moved and watched me with a keen eye. Finally he resumed eating and I got the shot you see here. If that poor squirrel had to die, I was glad to see its body was being used to nurture another one of God’s creation. The only positive quote I could find about vultures was from the American lead singer of the new wave band Blondie. Debbie Harry said, “I’m a culture vulture, and I just want to experience it all.” I really like that. We fear what we don’t know — much like our friend the vulture: nature’s recycler.