Vultures are known for only one thing: They eat rotting dead animals. They don't kill anything -- they just wait for their prey to die. There's nothing wrong with that, as gross as it is; these bald, wrinkly, beady-eyed, Patrick Stewart-looking creatures play an important role in the ecosystem.
By God, it really is uncanny.
But while most vultures are peaceful, upstanding members of the carrion community, there are always exceptions, such as the American black vulture. These birds are somewhat smaller than the more common turkey vulture, and they lack one very important feature necessary in the scavenging racket. These birds have a poor sense of smell (they also don't have bird vocal cords, so they hiss -- which just makes them all the more endearing).
We'd rather cuddle with that cactus.
If your livelihood depends on stinky cuisine and you're ill-equipped to locate the putrid carcasses, then you're pretty much hosed. The black vulture compensates for this glaring evolutionary blind spot by utilizing a strategy scientists refer to as "being an asshole."
First, they follow turkey vultures (who have a great sense of smell), waiting for them to laboriously and carefully locate prime dead meat. Then, once found, they chase the turkey vulture away from the dead dog or squished possums roasting in the hot sun on the side of the road. They simply sponge off the hard work of their vulture peers.
Well, not all the time. Sometimes they hang around farms and peck out the eyes and tongues of newborn animals.
Yes, these lovely, majestic creatures will swarm down on a mother giving birth and attack calves too young to defend themselves. Bessie will die from trauma and blood loss, in case you were curious. Then the vultures feast.
Something to wash that rotting armadillo down with.
Oh, and the best part is that it's illegal to kill a black vulture. They're protected by Federal law and there's a $15,000 fine and a person can serve up to six months in jail for trapping, killing or possessing one. They aren't endangered or anything. They apparently just have high-paid lobbyists working for them.
"Do you want to live in a world without hordes of baby-murdering vultures, senator? Because this big check and I don't."
The Kea is an olive-green parrot that lives in the foreboding reaches of Middle-Earth, or "New Zealand" as it is known to some. Kea are scavengers that'll eat just about anything -- leaves, roots, fruits, nuts, garbage, road kill, hobbits. They're extremely clever and very curious, displaying advanced problem-solving skills. They use those skills to be more effective douche bags.
He's packing a nine underneath those feathers.
The birds have a strong neophilia, meaning they love anything new or novel. So if they, for instance, see your car for the first time, they'll swoop down and use their beaks to rip up the rubber seal around the windows. You know, just to see what happens. They'll also steal anything interesting that catches their eye -- there's one story of a bird grabbing a tourist's passport and flying away with it ("Ha ha, fucking tourist, now you're trapped in New Zealand forever! Tell Gollum I said hi!").
Needless to say, the birds are seen as destructive pests wherever they show up.
"I will eat your phone first, and your gold fillings second."
But the sheep have it worst of all. Besides being home to the dark kingdom of Mordor, New Zealand is also a land of sheep. Back in the 1860s, ranchers began noticing odd wounds on their animals. It turns out that Kea were eating their sheep alive. They've also been seen chewing on pets and horses. They'll just land on the backs of the livestock where they can't be reached, and just tear right into their flesh with their little claws and beak. Here's video:
How ballsy and/or vicious do you have to be to just stand there and munch on an animal that's literally a hundred times your size? Can you imagine jumping onto the back of a whale with a fork and knife and maybe some cocktail sauce?
What was the first Kea thinking?
"Hey, I'm going to go eat that sheep."
"I'm doing it! I'm starving!"
"What are you weighing in at now? A pound? You can't tackle a sheep, dumbass. You might as well fight a Balrog."
"Holy Christ, stop with the fucking Lord of the Ring references already! The movie was shot in New Zealand. We get it. And why do you always have to be such a pessimist? You also said I'd never get off this stupid island but who's got a passport back at the nest, huh?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Hernandez, but I can't let you into the country if you insist on attacking the metal detector."
Warblers are renowned for their lovely singing and for not shutting up no matter how many shoes you hurl at them while they do it outside your bedroom window. They also murder babies of their own species, out of jealousy.
As Bing Crosby taught us, a good singing voice makes up for a lot of child abuse.
The problem is the male of the great reed warbler is something of a philanderer (man-whore) and will copulate with (fuck) all the females in their territory. This presents a problem for the ladies, who each want this young stud all to themselves. We've all been there.
Especially since the male only helps care for the first nestlings who hatch. It doesn't matter if you were his first love. It doesn't matter what he promised you in the throes of birdy passion. The first batch of kids he sees are the only ones he acknowledges.
"If you guys had hatched like, two minutes later, I'd be feeding on you."
This causes a little bit of competition between the women folk. To get their man, they have to be the first to show him a kid. So to improve their odds, female reed warblers will try to murder each other's unborn chicks. The baby showers are pretty brutal.
"Donna, your eggs look beautiful! Mind if I have a few minutes alone with them and this whisk?"
So these vixens flit around attempting to smash each other's eggs while their rivals aren't looking. The mother of the first hatchlings to survive the culling wins her man. It's like one of those dating shows on MTV. Only with infanticide!
And what kind of guy would stay with someone who just slew a dozen of his unborn children? The kind who's scared out of his fucking mind, that's who. He probably figures that if this crazy bitch has no compunctions about slaughtering innocent yolklings then she might just murder the crap out of him too. The whole system is about him getting matched up with the meanest, most efficient death machine in a forest full of bloodthirsty she-bitches. Yeah, settling down and raising a family is probably his only option here. Makes perfect sense, Nature.
That is the mohawk of a bird with no shits left to give.