Judgement

Judgement can be unjust.

VULTURE COMING IN TO LAND - Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

VULTURES FEEDING - Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

It’s a steamy summer evening near the Kruger National Park. Anticipation spikes the sunset as we pull up to the ‘vulture restaurant’ at Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) rehabilitation centre. A simple patch of sand to us, the spot is significant to the birds. Dozens of them. The moment the carcass thuds to earth, they swoop in from their circling. A bombardment of quietly beating feathers flares dust into the air, muffling soft tearing and crunching sounds. Not a single squawk is uttered.

Each species knows precisely what to do. Larger-beaked prey ‘openers’ jostle beside their cousins who pick the bones clean. The ten minute melee is marked by precision feeding, highlighted with huge hops and tugs of war, as well as the intermittent scampering of a warthog. He’s having dinner too, snatching morsels from the heaving heap.

As swiftly as it began, the meal is over; barely a scrap to mark the spot. A flurry of large bodies lifts off and flies away. No wonder Nature is not strewn with waste. Among the less endearing of her feathered set, vultures sometimes receive a bad rap. Perhaps not the prettiest, they each have a part to play. As we all do.

Quotes to consider:

“Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves” – Euripides

“We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” – Ian Percy

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Gustav Jung

“The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” – Georgia Harkness

“. . . It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” – Paulo Coelho

“Although I cannot lay an egg, I am a very good judge of omelettes” – George Bernard Shaw

Here are a few more pics taken by Dave:

VULTURES & MARABOU STORKS - Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

WARTHOG WITH VULTURES - Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

WHITEBACKED VULTURE - Moholoholo, Hoedpsruit, South Africa

WHITEBACKED VULTURE - Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

About Naomi

Personal branding photographer, videographer, speaker and trainer, helping visionary leaders shine on camera and become the star of their premium brand!
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29 Responses to Judgement

  1. Cindy says:

    I try not to judge, but vultures give me the heebies.
    (And I didn’t know warthogs ate meat!)
    Have a great week Naomi.

  2. Naomi says:

    Thanks, Cindy – have a great week too 😀

    As you point out, we typically see warthogs eating grasses and roots, but here’s Wikipedia’s description of their food: “The common warthog diet is omnivorous, composed of grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, eggs, dead animals, and even small mammals, reptiles and birds.”

    http://www.africanwildlifeguide.com provides another possible explanation for this one’s behaviour:

    “Warthogs have been observed feeding at carcasses. What can often be misconstrued as a warthog eating meat is actually the warthog feeding on the stomach contents of the dead animal. These contents are partially digested and still have a lot of nutrition in them. There are accounts of warthogs feeding on meat. No reason has been given for this behaviour.”

  3. Lance says:

    Ahhhh….judgment. That’s a tough one for me. I *try* not to (and yet, I know I do, too). So, that Paulo Coelho quote has special meaning to me. In this journey through life, I cannot know what has brought another to the path they are on…and where that might lead them. (so important for me to remember…)

    Once again, the photos are amazing!! What an experience, to be with the wildlife that you and Dave get to experience!

  4. thysleroux says:

    Extraordinary photos! **awe**

    The quotes compliment this very well …

  5. nrhatch says:

    Wonderful post. That last photo . . . wow! Look into the eyes of the soul.

    My favorite quote: “We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” – Ian Percy

    So true. I see my words and deeds in the context of my intention ~ others don’t get to see that inner motivation. They see only the behavior, which is then evaluated in the light of their own experiences, not mine. And vice versa.

    Thanks, Naomi.

  6. Pingback: Out Of Context « Spirit Lights The Way

  7. Koek! says:

    Amazing pics 🙂

  8. Once again, stunning photos, and thought-provoking ideas. Judgment is not the word that comes to my mind when seeing or thinking of vultures, although I see the way in which you used/use it. Vultures can certainly be misunderstood. As I pointed out to Nancy in one of her posts today, the subject of misunderstanding comes up over and over again in all of our discussions, doesn’t it!?! I referenced one such discussion with Nancy, and I’ll reference another one here – both touch on that same topic, however – misjudging, etc.:

    http://paulatohlinecalhoun1951.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/being-misunderstood/

    Here’s to mutual understanding and sound judgment! Cheers! 😀

  9. Stunning stuff, Naomi. We see vultures in our bird sanctuaries here- they may look efficient but our Hawk Conservancy tells us cattle inoculations are having a catastrophic effect on some species, when they eat cattle carcasses. Beautiful pilots.

    It’s binary, isn’t it? Carcass needs clearing up now you see it, now you don’t.

    I really love that last pic. Straight head and vulture shoulders(if they have shoulders)

    • Naomi says:

      Thank you, Kate – I love that last one too 🙂 It’s so sad to hear about your vulture species suffering, and horrifying how easily us humans can tip the scales…

  10. As always, I learn from your post, Naomi. Interesting about the nicely warmed intestinal banquet that the little warthog is after. In our part of the world, more and more people are discovering the superior intelligence of the pig.

    I’ve often wondered if “judgment” is the negative label of assessing while “discernment” is the positive. If an animal is charging me, it all becomes a moot point!

    The Coelho and Euripides quotes caught my attention today along with the incredible photos.

    By the way, loved your Face Book announcement of your other business: http://www.ovandp.co.za/

    Busy people, you two!

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Amy!

      Love your expression “intestinal banquet”, and I’m happy to hear about pigs’ intelligence, having a particularly soft spot for them 😀

      That’s an interesting observation, too, about “discernment”. Thank you for provoking thought about it…

  11. Tokeloshe says:

    Excellent post and stunning photos.

    What a thrill thank you for sharing.

  12. Heart says:

    Always the one to write a fitting prose to your own pictures.. Amazing description of the melee!! Survival of the fittest.. ! I can’t rate a favorite, but this post might be on my top 3!! And why the heck do I think that the Whitebacked vulture’s beak is something I can rub and feel?

  13. Tammy McLeod says:

    It’s odd how far away we live but we have turkey vultures and javalina and they look so much like your creatures. As always, I enjoy your quotes.

  14. Such an education for a city girl to visit you, Naomi. Wonderful posts. I love the quotations and Dave’s pix as well as your narative. Lovely. The perfect package. Thank you and thanks to your Dave too.

    Happy days …

  15. Posky says:

    I’ve never been in love with birds and I think your post has pushed me further in the direction of absolute apathy. I’m all for protecting animals birds are low on my priority list and high on the tasty to eat list.

    Great photos.

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