IMG_5329 African vulture about to demolish a chicken drumstick
At Sherwood we watched a performance by Sky Kings, a group of people who train predatory birds to perform various tricks. Some of those birds are the kind that are used for hunting, like peregrin falcon; among others there was a hawk, a white barn owl, and an white-backed African vulture. Most of those tricks consisted of making the birds fly from place to place on command, land on a handler's arm (enclosed in a thick leather glove, of course), or grasp a morsel of food mid-air. I tried to take pictures of the birds in flight, but that was very difficult, and the pictures didn't come out well. For some reason they were also massively overexposed (I haven't messed with my camera enough to correct that).
In this picture a handler has an African white-backed vulture on his arm. In the other hand he holds a chicken drumstick. He's about to demonstrate how the vulture, with its extremely sharp and powerful beak, will strip the drumstick to the bone in 5 seconds -- which it did. Unlike our very timid Texas vultures, African vultures apparently can be aggressive and dangerous to people. For some reason this particular vulture developed a grudge against one guy in the Sky Kings troupe (not the one in the picture), and would often chase him around the stage, trying to bite him -- we saw that during the performance.