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TomJH

The Intelligence of Birds

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DID YOU KNOW . . .

Owl wing prints can be found in the snow from their impact when punching through the snow to catch a rodent

144880985_c61fe179b3.jpg

disappearing-rabbit-track.jpg

A rabbit met his doom here

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13 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

their hearing is uncanny

Their eyesight is rather impressive too.

In fact, do any creatures on earth have superior vision to predatory birds?

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A Further Update: Operation Get Red Squirrel

When I spotted the live squirrel trap at a distance this morning I saw that the trap door was shut but the entire trap was filled with something and none of it was red. As I approached the trap, still not able to be able to tell what the creature was, I saw white and became fearful that I had caught a skunk. Upon closer inspection, though, I saw that it was a possum (only the second one I've ever seen on my property).

Again, the animal completely filled the trap and when I got to the end of the trap (where the bait had been) saw that his jaw were locked around the trap bars. Poor guy, he was bleeding at the gums and his teeth, I suspect, unless he could open his mouth even wider, may have prevented him from getting those jaws off the bars. It must have been a long night for him.

Banging the cage gently a few times I got no reaction from him (his eye facing me stared blankly) and for a few seconds I was seriously concerned that he may be dead. I had already opened the trap door at the other end but he wasn't moving. As gently as possible I pried his lower jaw off a bar. There was still no reaction from him, dead or alive.

I don't know if possums are capable of walking backward because that's the only way he could get out of the trap, and how would he even know the door was open anyway since he couldn't see it. As gently as I could I picked the trap up to see if I could dump his body through the opening. He slid out quite easily and I was very happy to see him start moving as quickly as he could to get away from me. He was opening and closing his mouth as he did so, almost like someone rubbing a sore jaw. I hope nothing was broken.

Within less than a minute he was out of my yard and gone.

So my lesson from this day is that I will not leave the squirrel trap out overnight anymore. Heck, it could have been a skunk! Besides, I don't think squirrels roam around at night anyway. They terrorize during the day.

Operation Get Red Squirrel is back and running once again. After doing a cleaunup on the trap of the blood and poo it is back in the yard with fresh bait. As I set the trap down I saw my red menace chattering at me from the top of a nearby fence, though, and I swear I saw a smile.

opossumtrapping.jpg

Not what I wanted to see this morning only, in my case, the animal had no room to move. He did do a good job at cleaning up the bait, however. Possums like peanut butter.

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Haha I had the same experience! I had called a wildlife rehabilitator who reminded me they "play 'possum". Opossums are easy to catch, they're not particularly intelligent or aggressive.

If you ever DO trap a skunk, all you have to do is cover the trap with a tarp so he doesn't actually see you. You have time, they don't spray immediately and give fair warning by raising their entire back end, sometimes in a "handstand". Once covered, you can safely open the trap door & RUN AWAY. The skunk will leave without spraying you.

You really hate those red squirrels, don't you? There are small squirrel traps that will catch only squirrels & chipmunks, too small for opossums, raccoons, cats, etc.

My method was to shoot them. I kept their little carcasses in my basement freezer thinking I'd have them taxidermed in a "group party" playing cards. My husband surprised me by switching partners and our house was sold in a rush. Several years later I remembered all the squirrels in that big freezer and wondered what the new owners may have thought about our culinary tastes.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Haha I had the same experience! I had called a wildlife rehabilitator who reminded me they "play 'possum". Opossums are easy to catch, they're not particularly intelligent or aggressive.

If you ever DO trap a skunk, all you have to do is cover the trap with a tarp so he doesn't actually see you. You have time, they don't spray immediately and give fair warning by raising their entire back end, sometimes in a "handstand". Once covered, you can safely open the trap door & RUN AWAY. The skunk will leave without spraying you.

You really hate those red squirrels, don't you? There are small squirrel traps that will catch only squirrels & chipmunks, too small for opossums, raccoons, cats, etc.

My method was to shoot them. I kept their little carcasses in my basement freezer thinking I'd have them taxidermed in a "group party" playing cards. My husband surprised me by switching partners and our house was sold in a rush. Several years later I remembered all the squirrels in that big freezer and wondered what the new owners may have thought about our culinary tastes.

Thanks, TikiSoo. I saw some You Tube videos of that nature about what to do if you catch a skunk.

Some creature, presumably that red squirrel, got in the trap yesterday and licked all the peanut butter off the trigger plate again without getting caught. The trap door was still open. I tested it with a stick and it slammed shut. I guess this rodent is too light to set off the trigger. I'm thinking of getting a live trap for smaller animals, hoping it will be more easily triggered by creatures with lighter weights.

I don't gave a gun and, even if I did, couldn't shoot an animal. I wouldn't be too upset, however, if there was an owl nearby to let nature take its course.

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Whats this week's police blotter have to say about the Red Menace, his mob, and their peanut butter racket?

Mousedetectposter.jpg

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I suppose we must interpret the ongoing close-mouthedness (from the OP) as an indication of Man's Fall in the face of Rodent Superiority. The Adversary has triumphed. Someone has met their Waterloo, and the result is a shame-faced and embarrassed --albeit wordless --admission of defeat.

Otherwise, I expect we would hear throaty saber-rattling and proud breast-thumping, gloats and boasts, all gleefully accompanied by pictures of squirrel-hide tacked to the nearest elm trunk.

Come on now, sirrah, don't hang there in the back of the room, looking down at your chest, digging your toe in the carpet! Step forward and report! How did you fare? Did you give a good account of yourself? Face up to it! You're among friends here... <_<

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2 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I suppose we must interpret the ongoing close-mouthedness (from the OP) as an indication of Man's Fall in the face of Rodent Superiority. The Adversary has triumphed. Someone has met their Waterloo, and the result is a shame-faced and embarrassed --albeit wordless --admission of defeat.

Otherwise, I expect we would hear throaty saber-rattling and proud breast-thumping, gloats and boasts, all gleefully accompanied by pictures of squirrel-hide tacked to the nearest elm trunk.

Come on now, sirrah, don't hang there in the back of the room, looking down at your chest, digging your toe in the carpet! Step forward and report! How did you fare? Did you give a good account of yourself? Face up to it! You're among friends here... <_<

Must you rub it in?

The little **** is too light to activate the trigger plate in the trap. He gloatingly ate the peanut butter right off the thing as well as cleaned up the peanut butter I left behind the trigger (He would have to step on the trigger to get at it).

Buying a smaller trap that I hoped would be more sensitive to his tiny little evil paws only yielded the same result. That's a hundred and ten bucks spent on two of these traps. I see You Tube videos of these same traps capturing bigger squirrels but they don't show anybody going after one of these hyper midget red demons with  a trap.

Yesterday I saw him hanging upside down from a branch while he feasted on my bird feeder.

Maybe if I feed him five or six jars of peanut butter he'll be fat enough for me to capture. But in the meanwhile the little runt is laughing at me.

80e10fdf22e6219bdf04aad87511be21--hello-

 

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$110 bux is no joke. Ouuffff. Sorry to hear. When will this fiend be brought to justice! The towering, advanced resources of modern, technological man, all brought to a halt by a creature 1/60th our size!

What about a simple old-fashioned woodsman's wire snare?

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1 hour ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

$110 bux is no joke. Ouuffff. Sorry to hear. When will this fiend be brought to justice! The towering, advanced resources of modern, technological man, all brought to a halt by a creature 1/60th our size!

What about a simple old-fashioned woodsman's wire snare?

I want to relocate him, not kill him.

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I had a grey squirrel perish accidentally in a smooth-sided trash can recently. It reminds me of the famous 'po-boy mousetrap'.

You stretch a stiff wire across just such a container (plastic) and fill the bottom with water or liquid chemicals. In the middle of the wire, you slide a beer can across until its in the middle. Peanut butter the sides of the can. The mouse inches out, climbs on the can to get the treat, and the can immediately spins him off into the water below.

Its a variation of the 'wooden stick' method, wherein the mouse's weight tips the stick into the container with him. You balance it on the edge with PB at the very tip.

p.s.

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On 12/25/2018 at 4:46 AM, TikiSoo said:

Great thread!

Re OP: Blue Jays are the only relative of crows in the US. As you may know, crows are particularly intelligent birds. I feed a flock of crows and it's fun getting them to trust you. I even have crow "decoys". My crows get peanuts, granola & dried worms....

Enjoyed reading your post, but just a slight correction regarding the above.
There are many corvids that call the U.S. and Canada home. Some are "native" to these shores while others may have been brought here by human conveyance. But since they can be found worldwide, and have the ability to fly long distances, who really knows.

When I was living in the far north, I became fascinated by the non-migratory birds that spent the entire year within that harsh wintery northland.
Above the Arctic circle there are months where the sun neither sets in the "Summer" nor rises in the "Winter."
Permanent residents have adapted to long stretches of both extremes. Nocturnal hunters were forced to become diurnal and vice versa.
In the avian community Owls were among such versatile residents, and of the corvidae family, Ravens were of particular interest to me, as well as the related Magpies and Grey Jays.
I enjoyed the little Greys a lot. They were bold enough to even lit upon my finger at times and quizzically look me directly in the eye. On really cold winter days I'd see them with their feathers all puffed out like little grey balls perched upon the branches.

The Jays could be particularly annoying though, esp. when hunting. When one spied me with a rifle, he seemed to sense my intent and flew from branch to branch after me, and would make little calls, which sounded like alert signals to any animal within ear shot.

One winter I had a couple of moose hind quarters suspended from the bottom of my cache. Each quarter had been covered by a deer bag earlier that fall. The little Jays beaks were too small to pierce through to the frozen flesh, but not so for the Magpies and Ravens. However once a hole had been made by the bigger birds, those little Jays had no problem getting in there and taking advantage of a "free" meal during hard times.
All corvidae are omnivores, and will scavenge what they can.
The top of the line are the Ravens. They are extremely gregarious and highly intelligent. I've spent hours watching them actually "play" with each other and unrelated species.
Two different species that are such supreme survivors that they always seem to find ample time to actually "enjoy" life and "play" just for the sake of having fun, are Ravens and Otters. If I could be reincarnated into another species I'd like to come back as either a Raven or an Otter.

After Ravens come the Magpies. But because of their size and voracious appetite they were making a mess of my winter moose. The moose was high enough up to keep it out of reach of the bears. And I had sections of slippery metal wrapped around the pole stands that prevented the squirrels and other critters from climbing to the top. But this posed no barrier to creatures with the ability to fly. 
So one day I shot a Magpie and hung it upside down from the moose carcass, as a "warning" to the other birds and Magpies to "stay away". The next morning I was shocked to see these sociable birds feasting upon their fallen comrade.
I had never seen a Raven, even in the dead of winter, cannibalizing another Raven, so observing Magpies appear to eagerly do this knocked them down a notch in my esteem.
Though perhaps it really shouldn't have. After all humans have consumed other humans as a matter of ritual and in dire circumstances for survival.

I've eaten bear, and remember the first time I really examined a bears carcass with the hide removed.
The distal clawed phalanges of the paws are removed with the hide, and what remains (from the neck down) is remarkably similar to that of the body of a large and very robust man.
In order to eat that bear I had to overcome the thought of the human appearance of its skinned carcass.

I have read numerous survival journals where the difference between "making it" or not appeared to depend upon the mindset of those involved. Where some saw edible food, others did not (would not/could not).
When my rations began to get low and such thoughts crept into my mind I began to ask myself, would I/could I eat one of my sled dogs to keep myself and the others alive?
if I could eat a bear, then if survival dictated, could I also eat a fellow human?
If I could carve up a human-like bear carcass, might I be able to overcome the repugnance of cannibalism by imagining that a human carcass was just that of a small bear?

Sometimes this type of discussion has arisen among others, and I might query, "So would you drink muddy water to stay hydrated, and eat insects and larvae, and all manner of creatures and even carrion to keep body and soul together?" :unsure:
"Could you consume the body of another human if your life depended on it?":huh:

Depending on the answers, I might muse "Perhaps some of us are not all that different from Magpies after all..." :rolleyes:

It amazes me that some people (especially younger people) that I have spoken with are apparently so distanced from any natural environment and the realities of life and death that they sincerely have no idea where their "food" comes from. Nor do they equate anything from the meat department as having once been part of a living sentient being.

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On 12/25/2018 at 3:01 PM, TomJH said:

Their eyesight is rather impressive too.

In fact, do any creatures on earth have superior vision to predatory birds?

I saw a Nature program on PBS where a guy was training a falcon. That bird spotted and homed in on a small feathered lure at a distance greater than three miles. Telescopic vision, Very impressive indeed!

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On 12/25/2018 at 2:26 PM, Swithin said:

Donald Spoto, who was my teacher for a Hitchcock course, said that Hitchcock was impressed and inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's essay on birds. Not only did it influence Hitchcock's The Birds; it influenced it's predecessor as well: Psycho. Remember all those stuffed birds behind Norman Bates; and remember that Janet Leigh's character was Marian Crane from Phoenix.

vlcsnap-2013-11-02-17h11m20s18.png

 

Hey, I resemble that "statement".... <_<

Side Note of possible interest... Did You Know, that The black and white Eurasian magpie is widely considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world and one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magpie

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Stephan55 a veritable font of fun facts. Unusual background too. Reminds me that when I first graduated school I had a chance to go live/work with Eskimaux myself. Wasn't ready for it at the time, so I declined. Wonder if they still want me? Maybe that's where my destiny lies, Taylor?

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I wonder what prompted Hitch to seek out Leonardo on the subject of birds. Seems like for a director as busy as he, the short novella by duMaurier (he's done three adaptations of her, it just strikes me this moment) would have been enough.

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16 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Reminds me that when I first graduated school I had a chance to go live/work with Eskimaux myself. Wasn't ready for it at the time, so I declined. Wonder if they still want me? Maybe that's where my destiny lies, Taylor?

You should go Sarge, and find out.

My time spent living in Alaska is some of the most memorable of my life's experiences.
Even while there, I realized that I was living out a moment-to-moment dream, and often felt as if I was that kid again, and had somehow found a way to actually make Disneyland's Tom Sawyer's Island home... only much, much more so, as everything around me was real!
Everything was new for me, and I was like a sponge "drinking" it all in.
That is why such memories are so vivid for me, even after these many years.

I learned many things while there. About the natural world around me, the indigenous cultures, and about myself.
Alaska is not for everyone (and thank god for that) as "wilderness" is really such a fragile thing.
However for some it gets into the blood, and for me it was like I had come home to a place that I had never been, except in my mind.
I feel much the same way about Northern Canada.

I have been back several times, for both work and play, but those first 10 years, when I actually "lived" there, was like one adventure after another. And the first time that we do anything is always the most memorable time.

I knew that life is transient, and all things come to an end, so I devoured Alaska like a starving man!
I wanted to share the joys of that dream while there with those people that had meant a lot to me.
I felt like I was a trail breaker for those I'd left behind.
I wrote letters encouraging those like-minded persons I cared about to come up.
To an uncle who taught me how to hunt and fish, and friends...  But sadly none did.
They said they wanted to, but "work" and the "burdens" of life kept them hemmed in place.
They said perhaps later, at another time they would come. But when later came, they were still unable, some regretfully no longer able... :(

I am of a relative few that can say that they've seen roving herds of wild buffalo in a purely natural state, sadly not numbering in the tens of thousands, as in days of yore, but at least in the hundreds.
And I am of a relatively small human population that can yet say that they have witnessed northern caribou still migrating in the thousands.
Sadly, one day such events may only be referred to in books and old movies, but not in person.
Wilderness on this planet is rapidly vanishing on every continent. Within our brief lifespans we are witnessing the geologic microsecond of a mass extinction event affecting all life (both flora and fauna) on Earth!

So again I say, Go Sarge, and find out (while there is yet time to do so).

Zira: What will he find out there, doctor?
Zaius: His destiny.

 

'Esquimaux' comes from Samuel Hearne's A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 first published in 1795.
Hearne, an Englishman employed by the Hudson Bay Company, traveled to Fort Prince of Wales at present day Churchill via ship, and not overland.
He is highly unlikely to have encountered French traders or their allies in his travels to have picked up a word for the present-day Inuit from them, as the fall of Quebec and the end of French activity in North America was just 6 years prior to his arrival.
On the contrary, trade at Fort Prince of Wales was conducted with the Cree and the Chipewyans, and conducted at the shores of Hudson Bay at that time.
Trade, by ship, with the Esquimaux was one of Hearne's first assignments. It would be on Hearne's watch that inland exploration would begin. It was in the company of Matonabbee on his third attempt to find the sources of the copper in use by indigenous peoples that Hearne encountered the Inuit as described in "Massacre at Bloody Falls."
That the word 'esquimaux' as applying to the Inuit would have come from French sources, and from such southerly peoples as the Algonquians seems highly unlikely, but Hearne's use of the term and his manner of spelling it suggest that the term was already in use prior to his arrival in 1766.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo

A journey from Prince of Wales's fort in Hudson Bay to the northern ocean, in the years 1769, 1770, 1771, and 1772. -- by Hearne, Samuel, 1745-1792; Tyrrell, Joseph Burr, 1858-1957; Champlain Society
Read or download this and related books in digital format at the following link
https://archive.org/details/journeyfromprinc00hearuoft/page/n6

WORLD LIBRARY LINKS

Books
https://openlibrary.org/

ebooks & texts
https://archive.org/details/texts

Video
https://archive.org/details/movies

Audio
https://archive.org/details/audio

Images
https://archive.org/details/image



Eskimeaux: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmal7_hGOz0 

 

Eskimeaux: the Full Album (36.06 min)

 

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13 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I wonder what prompted Hitch to seek out Leonardo on the subject of birds. Seems like for a director as busy as he, the short novella by duMaurier (he's done three adaptations of her, it just strikes me this moment) would have been enough.

Who knows. He obviously had an eclectic personality.
Perhaps his interest in da Vinci predated his reading of du Maurier, and maybe it was Leonardo that prompted his interest in Daphne? :unsure:
Perhaps we should take a course on Hitchcock and get an "experts" scholarly opinion?

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