Vulture Memorial Hospital
July 24 | 4 Comments
The other day I heard my mother call downstairs to my father, “Honey, there are a bunch of roosters out in the front yard.” Lest you think we live on a farm or out in rural America, let me set you straight. We live in suburban America where houses are stamped next to each other every hundred feet or so. We don’t get many roosters walking in our neighborhood, and if we did they would be cited for jaywalking.
So it was no surprise that curiosity got the best of my father as he ran up the stairs to check out what it was all about. Of course I wasn’t far behind.
Sure enough there were three birds out in front. But they weren’t roosters. Nope. They weren’t hens either. No sirree. What we had were vultures, and they were enjoying a squirrel breakfast special, no doubt ordered scattered, smothered and covered. I’d never seen one before and apparently neither had my mother. I must say that once I saw those red eyes, the bent beak and the soul of the devil right there in front of me I knew I wanted no part of them.
I bring all this up because I was reading on the internets today about some vultures hanging loose at a nearby hospital.
Up to a half dozen turkey vultures are spending their days on ledges and windowsills of the three-story glass and brick building at 575 W. River Woods Parkway in Glendale, which is along Port Washington Road, south of Hampton Ave.
This is probably not what you need to see just before going into surgery – vultures loitering outside the hospital window.
“I’ve had patients tell me, ‘Doc, it’s not very reassuring,’ ” joked John Kroner, a surgeon at Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin.
Not very reassuring unless you’re looking to be carved up like a turkey and fed to a vulture.
“He sat right there for like 20 minutes,” Carole Vaughner said, pointing to the window. The Milwaukee woman was about to undergo knee surgery, and here’s this buzzard keeping a hungry eye on her and pecking at the glass.
As he pecked the window, he used his right wing and motioned her to come forth, all the while saying, “Come to papa!”
“One lady was actually kind of upset about it. She thought it was a bad sign,” said nurse Cathy Burns.
Which is surprising considering the sight of vultures is universally accepted as a sign of good luck. This is especially true if you’re dying of thirst in the middle of a desert. “Hey look there’s a bunch of vulture’s circling overhead. We’re going to make it!”
“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re hanging out in a human-made structure,” Diehl said.
Me either. Humans taste like chicken after all.