Fly Free, Sir Walter
It is with sadness that Teatown says goodbye to Walter, our legendary, Raptor Loop vulture.
By Lisa Kelly, Teatown’s Animal Care Supervisor
Walter came to Teatown in 2005 to be a companion for Edgar. For 17 years he was not only Edgar’s other half, but an educational ambassador, friend to the free vultures, snack seeker and welcoming crew to all new raptor volunteers. Walter taught so many of us that vultures are actually cute and have huge personalities. From his hop to his woof to his head tilt to see if just maybe you have a treat, he was a pillar presence in the raptor loop.
Walter was adventurous; the first one to try out any new things that I brought in, excited to come right up and get first dibs. He could always be found sunning and picking at everything, searching for snacks. While recent events revealed just how badly he was injured, for so many years he was simply Walter, and he was doing Walter Things. He gave Edgar confidence, he showed him that humans were not a threat and helped him gain trust in people.
Every bird here leaves an impression on those of us who get to work with them. We take away so many lessons, some harder than others, but all of them necessary and we are grateful to learn from these creatures. Walter’s lasting impression is a little bit goofy, a whole lot of cute, and a massive amount of just how amazing these animals truly are. Not only did he survive being hit by a car, but he took everything that came his way in stride. We can all learn a lot from nature and Walter is no exception. Even if you are handed a bad deal, life is all what you make it to be.
One of my favorite Walter memories is from back when the farm had chickens. The excess roosters were fed to the vultures. I came into the vulture habitat one day to find Edgar and a mound of black feathers…
PANIC. EDGAR ATE WALTER!
I rushed in and heard a little “woof”, and there was Walter under the table, a hiding spot he’d never used before. To this day, I am convinced I got punked by Walter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Animal Care Supervisor
Lisa started at Teatown in 2007 as a part-time animal caretaker. Now the animal care supervisor, she makes sure all Teatown’s animal ambassadors have everything they need to be mentally and physically healthy. In her free time, Lisa is a wildlife monitor, wildlife rehabilitator, foster home for the local SPCA, and has her own three rescue dogs.