Living on a busy road in semi-rural Georgia like we do, it is pretty common for the lives of white-tailed deer to be snuffed out on our street by the bumpers of fast-moving cars and trucks. The drivers are left with some costly body damage and the deer are left with fatal body damage. A few days after the deer have met their end, the decaying processes set in. Then later as the stench begins to rise into the air, the vultures show up. I used to complain about these nasty little scavengers. But with just a little thought about the design and function of these birds, my tune quickly changed.
My “inspiration” (that’s a stretch) for writing about vultures came from an all-too-typical deer death on Corinth Road. A nice sized Bambi was hit three days ago a mile down from our house. Its lifeless body lay there for probably 48 hours before the vultures picked up the putrid scent. When our family went out for a pizza dinner yesterday evening, 8-10 dirty birds were just beginning their own smorgasbord of venison. Then not but about 20 hours later, I drove by the crime scene again. The vultures were still there working on a few scraps, but there were absolutely no visible remnants of that deer. That is truly amazing to me. I guarantee our county workers do not dispose of road kill deer that quickly.
God knew what He was doing when He made the vulture. Their ability to live the grotesque lifestyle they do screams of divine design. Their entire diet consists of the decaying, disease-filled carcasses of road kill. What would sicken and possibly kill us by just touching it, these birds eat for their survival and to their satisfaction. God made the vulture with a stomach that can tolerate the deadly germs and bacteria they ingest. They kill bacteria like anthrax, cholera, and botulism during the digestion process, eliminating those threats to us. God made their heads featherless so they are more easily cleaned from the disease-filled blood that gets on them. He made them to frequently stand on the ground with wings spread out so as to bake the bacteria off their wings and sanitize them with the heat of the sun. God made the vulture with a very unique sanitation system for its feet called urohydrosis. Basically, the vulture defecates on its own legs, with the uric acid killing the bacteria it picks up while resting on its rotten food.
My intention with this is not to gross you out–though I likely have accomplished that for many, including my wife. I draw attention to the ugly vulture as an example of the intentionality that is evident in God’s creation. No creature is an accident or the product of chance plus time, but the unique and purpose-filled creation of a God who made all things, great and small, to declare His glory. So the next time I run by a venue of vultures gorging themselves on a dead deer, I will remember to worship the Lord for His wisdom in creating this bird that protects me from deadly diseases and makes this world a better place. So please join me in thanking God for vultures.