NATTEDDU KNEW GRIFFON VULTURES
Natteddu knew griffon vultures
He remembers with emphasis the big birds flying in circles over the ridges of Gorruppu.
His father once killed a griffon: he had come upon it while it was devouring the rotting carcass of a goat. He says that they skinned it and put its skin to dry in the sun while titmice cleaned strips of fats off of it.
He also remembers the big nests of the large cinereus vulture, set on the top of the largest junipers, and the calm flight of the huge lammergeyer.
The first two were exterminated by poisoned baits, which had been left for foxes; the third one disappeared because it was the most longed-for prey by professional hunters.
There were many of them in the mountains at that time: they hunted everything and sold everything. It was a profitable trade.
Trophy-hunters came periodically: they bought skins (moufflon, marten cat, dormice and wild cat), whole beasts and also live animals. They were willing to pay a lot to buy a lammergeyer.
There is a legendary history regarding two brothers from Urzulei, both fugitives. They obtained to live like free exiles, looking after a big villa in the Swiss mountains. They caught a live lammergeyer and gave it to a magnate living in that village, who was a fond collector.
The huge forest, overlooking the valley, attracts many migratory wood-pigeons and fat mistle thrushes every year.
They will meet the Sardinian goshawk that will lay traps for them, while he hunts jays, blackbirds and small woodland birds during the rest of the year.
These species are well known to men like Natteddu, along with the secret existence of the "geotritone", (Speleomantes supramontis), which can be sometimes seen inside damp caves, and the beautiful rare and mysterious Cetti Natrix (Natrix natrix cettii).