Miami's vultures go to court

A corrections officer walks up to Edgar, high-fives him, and offers in passing: "I've seen people throw live chickens into the lobby of the correctional facility." Then he laughs.

"If I were you, I'd walk across the street to the Miami River and see if there are any dead animals laying along the water," Edgar says. "They do a lot of sacrifices around there, sometimes leaving buzzard buffets."

I walk over to the river. I see lots of broken pottery, some gnawed squash, an orange, a rainbow of plastic grocery bags, but no butchered lamb shanks, pork chops, or poultry feet.

Then, down the river, I notice an old, gray-haired woman dressed in a long, flowing white dress writing something in chalk on a palm tree. As I approach, she gets spooked and flees to a waiting car that takes off.

On the palm, I spot the initials "P.R." written in bold, bubbly letters. Nailed to the trunks of other trees nearby are white paper streamers tangled with twigs and leaves. On the other side of the river, three buzzards feast on something, but I can't make out their afternoon delight.

Ah, the beauty of Miami in the fall!

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