An Egyptian vulture has been spotted in the Isles of Scilly in what has been described as a “once-in-a-century” sighting. The giant bird of prey, which has a distinctive bright yellow face and a mane of feathers, was first seen on Monday flying over Peninnis Head on St Mary’s. It’s an incredibly rare sighting and the first in the UK since 1868.
Egyptian vultures can be found in parts of southern Spain and northern France. Prof Bearhop, and ecologist from the University of Exeter, said he believed it was likely the bird came from France and became confused while migrating for some reason. The bird of prey is in decline worldwide, making the sighting even rarer. It has been featured in Egyptian hieroglyphs, and is one of the only birds of prey known to use tools when hunting.
The sighting’s intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, in the Earth Emperor’s Eye, one of the characters has a psychic experience where vultures appear and circle overhead as an ominous warning of the peril faced by Mother Nature. A vulture symbolizes the time to right wrongs and break free from the shackles. A vulture’s presence also brings to focus the real meaning of life and death. The vulture spirit animal has an uncanny ability to locate death and feed itself from death. It teaches us to embrace and truly understand the meaning of death.
It’s striking too that the vulture was spied at the Isles of Scilly because it’s where the adventurous and much-travelled Wally the Walrus was recently spotted.
The pair seem to be operating in unison to remind humanity of an Earth in crisis.