|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
The nice birdie in the picture is likely either a Griffin Vulture or close relative.
As for the sunbathers, consider that motionless people without inconvenient wrappings might be of inherent interest to a vulture.
As for training, it might be done, but I sure wouldn't want to be the guy to do it. Other vultures are known for regurgitating stomach contents all over anything they deem a threat. I suspect that you'd have the same problem with a vulture, though, that you do for an osprey... even if you man them and train them to come to you, once they are loose, there is basically nothing that you can provide for them that they want. An osprey nails a fish target 19 times out of 20, and vultures don't exactly have a problem in obtaining "prey" once spotted. For red-tailed hawks going after rabbits, the success rate is more like 1 time in 20 attempts, so a falconer can well improve things by providing a reliable food source.
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker