- Yuckiness has its Glories. This young vulture (with its head still feathered) may have been hit by a car, becoming road kill itself, one of its favorite food sources. This misunderstood creature could become the symbol of habitat clean up, since it provides this service gratis. It’s a carrion eater and does not kill other creatures; it can smell dead meat miles away; it migrates thousands of miles; it soars on thermals; it stays mated for life; it’s quiet; it likes hanging out with lots of its own kind; it wards off predators by puking on them. Its scientific name is Aura Cathartes, a flying (or golden) purifier or shitter, since its urine and fecal matter are anti-biotic. Some Native Americans portrayed it as a world savior who used its head to push the sun back into its orbit when it swung too low, overheating the planet. Its featherless head with its fiery red color testifies to the personal cost of its earth-rescuing act. The fable has an obvious moral—global-warming rectifiers might look to the most disparaged creatures for help in our current heat disaster. And, our real vehicle road kill is the planet itself.