The other day I was reviewing my CFBP photographs (California Foundation for Birds of Prey) because I’m preparing their latest newsletter. Tony Suffredini is an animal trainer and rehabber for CFBP and will be at this year’s open house with some of his charges. Last year, along with a Saker Falcon, a Golden Eagle, and a Raven, Tony showed off Steve, an Old World White-backed Vulture in his care. Steve is a rather imposing creature to say the least. The familiar Turkey Vultures weigh half as much as one of these Old World vultures and has a slightly smaller wing span of about 6 feet whereas the White-backed Vulture has a 7 foot wingspan.
Steve’s existence is quite remarkable. These African vultures are endangered. He hatched in Southern California after two 30 year old captive White-backed Vultures mated unexpectedly and laid an egg on the bare floor in their enclosure. The egg was found after it had been exposed for a couple of days and there was little hope that it was viable but they incubated it, candled it (yes, a heart beat) and 58 days later, Steve hatched. Steve, now 3 years old, is part of Tony’s family and since Tony trains birds and animals for the movies, Steve is a movie star.