Bear and I had just broke into a gallop as we jumped off the porch and headed for a jog/walk/run around PFHQ when it happened.
A black vulture sat directly in the middle of the trail, helpless, and unable to fly.
Bear saw it first and lit out for this amazingly large "chicken".
(Long time readers know Bear has a "chicken problem"... he's better, but once a chickenchaser, always a chicken chaser)
Luckily, I had Bear on the 30 foot leash we use for our outings, so I was able to put the brakes on his rush to the vulture.
He managed to scare it into some scrubby brush, so while the vulture tangled itself in the scrub, I put Bear back in the house.
I returned to the vulture with a large beach towel, which I draped over him after untangling him from the brush. I did not see an obvious injury, but he collapsed a few times when fleeing Bear without ever leaving the ground.
Whether it was leg or wing that failed him, I could not tell.
Black vultures stink like road kill ... what a surprise.
They also have very flexible necks and I can now add vulture nips to my list of bites and stings delivered by Florida's critters.
I called the FWC (state game and fish folks) for a nearby wildlife rehabber. The lady gave me a number for some folks south of here, but a message on their answering machine was never returned.
I don't really know the extent of the vulture's injury/sickness. It's been cold, really cold ... in the 20's last night so that could be a factor, but the vultures at Manatee Springs this morning were flying and sunning as if the cold were no big deal.
(Yes, I already used my park pass, No, the manatees were not visible)
On the internet, I found a 24 hour wildlife rescue center in Gainesville. Since I have to drive that way tomorrow, I'll drop this black beauty off on the way through town.
IF it survives the night.
In the meantime, it's in a quiet, dark holding area with comforting, familiar smells.
I hope he makes it.