My name is Jan Bindas, and I am a dedicated volunteer with Lindsay Wildlife as well as a donor to the Love for Lindsay Wildlife Campaign. I was motivated to donate in memory of Diablo, our beloved turkey vulture, that I had the privilege and great joy of knowing for 29 of his 32 years at Lindsay Wildlife. I got to spend many precious hours with him over the years both as a member of the Friday raptor team, and throughout his life with us. To say that he was special to me would be an understatement. He was a dear friend, my heart connection. Of course, he would never miss an opportunity to try to nip me with his beak if the moment presented itself, and he got great pleasure whenever he was successful in doing so. He kept me on my toes and taught me to be ready for anything. I especially treasured our walks in Larkey Park when he was on the ground with a long, light cord (creance) attached to the jesses on his legs, which enabled him to walk wherever he wished. I tossed pieces of mice in various spots where it was up to him, with his excellent sense of smell, to find them. He particularly liked hunting for them under piles of leaves. Many families got to know Diablo on these walks and were able to see the beauty of turkey vultures and how unique they are. After all, there were many Diablo stories to share with the most often asked question being “Why does he only have one wing?” He was an amazing wildlife ambassador. People learned many things from Diablo, although he never spoke a word: be kind to wildlife, accept whatever comes your way, have tolerance, and enjoy life.
I loved Diablo and always will. He taught me many things over those years. First and foremost, he taught me to take life as it comes: the good and the not so good, happy or sad; to make the best of everything and that laughter really is the best medicine; to focus on the good; that friendship is built on trust and a good friend is always there for you and silently has your back when you need it the most. He was always there for me in both happy and sad times. And I was there for him. We were there for each other. He was my heart, and he always had my back. He was my best friend.