I've 'seen' everything now - Dracunculus vulgaris

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Tue, 05 Jun 2007 19:02:09 PDT
John Lonsdale reported that his Dracunculus vulgaris inflorescence was
attacked by a large bird. 

I've never heard of this happening, but several possibilities come to mind.
To keep the discussion interesting, let's assume the bird was actually going
after the Dracunculus. 

It may come as a surprise to most people, but birds in general evidently do
not have much of a sense of smell. Birds of prey do not use a sense of smell
to find prey. 

However, there is one large bird in John's neighborhood which does find its
food by its sense of smell - its sense of smell is so well developed that it
has been shown able to find rotting meat hidden under a pile of leaves. It's
not a bird of prey, it's the turkey vulture,  Cathartes aura. Some studies
suggest that these are not vultures at all but rather stork relatives
(presumably related to the marabou branch of the stork tribe). 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the turkey vultures
come down for discarded meat when we clean the freezer. 

My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society http://www.potomaclilysociety.org/

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