Happy Birthday, Lord Richard: Walnut Creek Bash

Wish "one of the oldest turkey vultures in California" well on her big 43rd birthday.

BEAUTIFUL BIRD: Living in California means living among a host of dramatic and heart-thrilling sights, the sort of natural occurrences and wilderness landmarks that can instantly fill one's happy head with an understanding of the world's inherent wonder. We'll put El Capitan on this list, of course, and all of Yosemite Valley, and the redwoods, too, and the elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery, near San Simeon. But let us also add one of our big birds, the turkey vulture, for coming across a turkey vulture sitting high up on a bare branch on a chill fall morning is absolutely an astounding, can't-forget-it experience (especially if that vulture has brought several friends to hang out in the branches, too). The turkey vulture is an exquisite avian superstar, in short, and one of the premier superstars among these superstars lives in Walnut Creek, and has for a number of decades now. It is...

LORD RICHARD... we speak of, a female turkey vulture who has long called the Lindsay Wildlife Experience home. What do we mean by "long called"? She's been at the animal center, which includes a hospital for injured wildlife, since 1974, and before that she lived at the Randall Museum in the Mission District. "After being raised by people, she had imprinted and would not socialize properly with wild turkey vultures," says the center, which has carefully and considerately served as the royal bird's steward since she arrived in Walnut Creek. As for Lord Richard's role for the past several years?

EDUCATING VISITORS... about our vulture friends, what they eat, where they live, and the importance they bring to the ever-flowing cycle of nature is on Lord Richard's daily to-do list. To honor all the good Lord Richard has done, a Friday, June 30 birthday party will be thrown, complete with a special, vulture-tempting birthday cake for bird of honor and cake for Lord Richard's human fans. Turkey vulture crafts, stories, and more feathery fun'll take flight during the day, too. Are you a devoted vulturean, through and through? Don't miss paying respect to one of the Golden State's best reps for the sometimes misunderstood, forever marvelous birds, on June 30 in Walnut Creek.

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