A bird let loose on the windshield of my almost new car. It was a direct hit, falling vertically but then spreading along my sloping windshield and driver’s side door. The cappuccino-colored slop that hit the asphalt next to the car was dispersed into about five perfectly round drops. But because of my car’s sloped surfaces, the other half a cup created smears five times as long as wide, forming patches shaped like a child’s projectile vomit that fell short of the john. It smelled like it, too, but had it been fresh and moist, rather than the consistency of dried mud, it would have been both disgusting and insulting. Yes, insulted is how I felt. With at least six other cars in this particular row, why mine? What I had I done? Who, or what, had I wronged?
Add to all this, the irony. This was the day of the Bye-bye Buzzards festival, and the most likely defecator(s) had flown off for the day’s hunt several hours earlier. The volume of excrement pointed to a larger bird, and the Turkey Vultures are the largest of them all. Maybe one of them was giving a symbolic sendoff, stating, in no uncertain terms, “See you next year, sucker.” That was my working hypothesis, until Tammy mentioned that, in the past, she’s seen a disproportionately large load come out of a perched White-winged Dove. With its dainty round head—far disproportionate in size to its much larger, sleek gray body—a dove doesn’t look smart enough to poop on the best looking car in the parking lot, but still, I couldn’t rule it out.
I feared that the uric acid might damage my paint, so I grabbed a few paper towels and a quart mason jar full of hot water, and wiped away most of the now-crusty excrement. I don’t know what made me look up, but directly over my head, flying casually, was a single Turkey Vulture. He could have been mocking me, but his facial expression was indistinct against the clouds. Like most criminals, I assumed that he had returned to the scene of the crime. I grasped the soiled paper towel in my fist and shook it in the air, cursing the accuracy of his aim, and the efficiency of his GI tract. I caught myself wishing that the celebratory buzzard cake that was served to visitors several hours earlier had been made from real buzzards.
But this evil thought brought me full circle. The evidence was circumstantial, at best. Even if I brought every one of the thirty that comprised our roosting flock in for questioning, they’d probably invoke “the cathartic code” and conspire to come up with thirty solid alibies. So, I let it go and climbed into my car for the ride home, happy that I had a roof over my head.