Buttercup, the Center’s education Black Vulture, hatched in captivity in 2004 at Maymont Park in Richmond. Buttercup’s parents would not care for him, and he was transferred to a permitted rehabilitator for care. Buttercup imprinted on his human-caregiver – meaning that he now more closely identifies with humans than with his own species. Buttercup cannot be released into the wild because he has no fear of humans, and he would not properly interact with other Black Vultures.
Buttercup came to the Wildlife Center in September 2011 and became one of the Center’s most charismatic display birds. Buttercup received some glove-training years ago when he was at Maymont, and in early 2014, the Wildlife Center outreach staff began working with Buttercup again to get him re-trained for off-site programs.
The staff at the Wildlife Center has been both surprised and delighted to watch so many people fall in love with Buttercup. He is both charismatic and smart, and he seems to love interacting with people. Buttercup often seeks attention from tour groups by coming to the front of his enclosure and spreading his wings. He loves the attention!
Buttercup reminds us that at the Wildlife Center, we care for a wide array of wild animals beyond the cute and cuddly bunnies … or the injured songbird … or the “headline” patients like the Bald Eagle or the Black Bear cub. The Center provides state-of-the-art, life-saving care for all native, wild animals – voles, grackles, snakes, and yes, vultures. Each animal we care for plays some role in the balance of nature.
Buttercup Courtship Video