These foggy mornings the vultures wait in the trees until the sun burns off the fog. Then they raise their wings to dry. This vulture rests on a dead branch of a Valley Oak in the small pioneer cemetery in the middle of our ranch. I have heard vultures called Mother of the Earth, in part because they are incredible mothers to their young. In fact, the Egyptian hieroglyph for “mother” was a vulture. They do not kill but only clean up what has died or been killed, a kind of living composter! On our ranch vultures alert us to recent coyote or mountain lion kills. When we see them circling, we exercise extra caution while walking in wilder areas.