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Thread: Backyard Wildlife

  1. #1741
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    Hi PetersCreek some of your Alaskan backyard wildlife made the local paper today. It was an edited down version of the story below, about ravens stealing meat from shoppers trolleys. I guess they should be grateful it was not eagles taking the whole lot.

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/...eries-76729132

  2. #1742
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    Ravens are darn near as big, an smarter!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  3. #1743
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Hi PetersCreek some of your Alaskan backyard wildlife made the local paper today. It was an edited down version of the story below, about ravens stealing meat from shoppers trolleys. I guess they should be grateful it was not eagles taking the whole lot.
    My wife mentioned this story to me just yesterday. We drove into Eagle River, within the Municipality of Anchorage, to get some lovely Mexican takeout. As we were walking in, I noticed that a trash bin had been left open and a dozen or so ravens were helping themselves to their own takeout.
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  4. #1744
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Ravens are darn near as big, an smarter!
    I see that they are nearly twice as heavy as our local ravens (which we call crows). Ours are also pretty cunning.

  5. #1745
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    My wife mentioned this story to me just yesterday. We drove into Eagle River, within the Municipality of Anchorage, to get some lovely Mexican takeout. As we were walking in, I noticed that a trash bin had been left open and a dozen or so ravens were helping themselves to their own takeout.
    And I bet they didn’t even leave a tip.
    As above, so below

  6. #1746
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    And I bet they didn’t even leave a tip.
    Actually, they might.

    Crows and ravens are well known for leaving gifts for people who feed them regularly (you can find tons of articles about this by googling). They are often shiny little trinkets, though humans can be less impressed by a gift of a piece of broken glass than another raven might be. Some people have vast collections of their raven gifts (one such story).
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  7. #1747
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Actually, they might.

    Crows and ravens are well known for leaving gifts for people who feed them regularly (you can find tons of articles about this by googling). They are often shiny little trinkets, though humans can be less impressed by a gift of a piece of broken glass than another raven might be. Some people have vast collections of their raven gifts (one such story).
    Interesting you should mention this. This topic had me thinking about the crows around here and how we get along, and then remembering that our own BigDon once asked what the proper protocol was if crows left you gifts, as they had done for him.

    ETA: Here's the thread he started: https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...rvid-Etiquette

  8. #1748
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    I miss BigDon. Hope he's ok.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  9. #1749
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    I see that they are nearly twice as heavy as our local ravens (which we call crows). Ours are also pretty cunning.
    We make a very clear distinction here, by calling the "small" ones crows and the huge ones ravens, as they are a different kind of bird. And we're being very pedantic about it, as we maintain this distinction even though you see 100 crows a day and 1 raven a decade overhere.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  10. #1750
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    We make a very clear distinction here, by calling the "small" ones crows and the huge ones ravens, as they are a different kind of bird. And we're being very pedantic about it, as we maintain this distinction even though you see 100 crows a day and 1 raven a decade overhere.
    We only have the one local variety so we don't have to make any choices. Everyone 'knows' that that they are ravens not crows but the name is so entrenched that it will not change.

  11. #1751
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    [...] we maintain this distinction even though you see 100 crows a day and 1 raven a decade overhere.
    The situation is mostly reversed here. While the Northwestern crow's range extends into coastal areas of southeastern Alaska, Prince William Sound, and parts of Kodiak Island and the Aleutians, the rest of the state is crow-free. Here, there be ravens.
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  12. #1752
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    Apparently we have both regular American and Northwestern crows here. Essentially impossible to tell the difference.
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  13. #1753
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    We have American crows and common ravens here. I see plenty of both throughout the year, although the range map in the Peterson guide suggests the crows aren't year-round residents. The map is small and imprecise, but I wonder if the warming climate is also playing a role. Bald eagles typically leave our region and head for the coast in winter, but now I see the occasional one here in winter. And a sighting that had me scratching my head, a pair of ducks - species unknown - just days after our -40 period in early February. They were swimming in the eddy just below a bridge pier, on a narrow stretch of river that remained free of ice for all but about three days this winter. No one believed me when I told them. (The rest of the ice went out of the river on the 21st or 22nd of March, and I think that's relatively early.)

  14. #1754
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    One crow that we don't have here is the Indian Crow which is apparently a fairly nasty invasive species. They have been spreading across much of the world by the expedient of hitching a ride on shipping that has come via the Indian subcontinent or Sri Lanka. When I worked around Fremantle harbour there used be occasional shooting expeditions when one of these were spotted on a ship newly arrived from India. There were posteds all round the wharf asking people to keep a look out for them. Luckily none have yet become established here.

    There is the same sort of effort has been going on for years to keep Starlings out. They were introduced into the Eastern States of Australia and have become a well developed pest there. They keep attempting to cross the Nullabor Desert during the migratory season but so far biosecurity measures including teams of shooters have mostly kept them out.
    Last edited by ozduck; 2021-Apr-02 at 03:28 AM.

  15. #1755
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    Eurasian collared doves arrived here a few year ago and I don't care for the call they make. It just doesn't belong here!

    When I first moved to this community I owned an airplane, and kept it at the local airport over the winter. I discovered a starling nest on top of the engine cylinders when I was preparing to return it to service for the summer. There were no chicks, so I didn't feel too bad about tearing it out of there.

  16. #1756
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    I've spent the past ten or 15 years thinking those were mourning doves, until my wife pointed out the difference. Unless we previously had mourning doves and they've been replaced by the collared ones. Prior to that we had rock doves, aka domestic pigeons. Now we don't see them around the house or on the wires. Don't know why.
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  17. #1757
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    According the the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, mourning doves are found across all of the US (including Washington), and just barely get into parts of southern most Canada. Eurasian collared doves are found in the US mostly west of the Mississippi and in the Southeast (not the Northeast nor around the Great Lakes).

    Comparing the two, they appear very similar (though I have no personal experience with the collared doves, they are not around Ohio). The mourning doves to me look a little smaller and plumper, with some rosey pink on their head and chest. The calls seem quite different to me though.
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  18. #1758
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    When I first moved to this community I owned an airplane, and kept it at the local airport over the winter. I discovered a starling nest on top of the engine cylinders when I was preparing to return it to service for the summer. There were no chicks, so I didn't feel too bad about tearing it out of there.
    I have no problem destroying starling nests in the US or Canada (they are non-natives), even if there are chicks, but it is sort of like emptying the ocean with a fork. I think starlings are here to stay. I will say the giant flocks they form in the winter are rather fascinating.
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  19. #1759
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    Coincidentally, as I sitting here typing in this thread, I suddenly heard a bunch of bird alarm calls, and look out to see a large hawk (I think a red-tailed) land in a tree in our woods. Funny thing, red-tails don't usually prey on other birds; more on small mammals (squirrels, rabbits).

    The pluses of working froom home.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  20. #1760
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    Back to the crow business, apart from crows and ravens we also distinguish jackdaws. They can be kept as cuddly pets, and are the king of bringing/stealing shiny suff. And pecking your ankles.

    Overhere you mainly see crows in the countryside and jackdaws in the cities, though they spread vice versa too. Ravens, hardly ever. Mostly you misidentify a fat crow. But they exist here too.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  21. #1761
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I have no problem destroying starling nests in the US or Canada (they are non-natives), even if there are chicks, but it is sort of like emptying the ocean with a fork. I think starlings are here to stay. I will say the giant flocks they form in the winter are rather fascinating.
    That video is mesmerizing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Coincidentally, as I sitting here typing in this thread, I suddenly heard a bunch of bird alarm calls, and look out to see a large hawk (I think a red-tailed) land in a tree in our woods. Funny thing, red-tails don't usually prey on other birds; more on small mammals (squirrels, rabbits).

    The pluses of working froom home.
    For some reason, this reminds me of two occasions where a goshawk attacked me for coming too close to its nest. Each time I was packing a shovel and put it up to defend myself.

  22. #1762
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    That video is mesmerizing.
    Better than a Lava Lamp.

  23. #1763
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I have no problem destroying starling nests in the US or Canada (they are non-natives), even if there are chicks, but it is sort of like emptying the ocean with a fork. I think starlings are here to stay. I will say the giant flocks they form in the winter are rather fascinating.
    As if some kind of magic happens in the air. Tiny birds - and what splendor they can create. This is how much their intellect is developed for such a movement.

  24. #1764
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay Burton View Post
    As if some kind of magic happens in the air. Tiny birds - and what splendor they can create. This is how much their intellect is developed for such a movement.
    In the old days, I would go to the Norfolk coast at dusk to watch the displays with tens of thousands of starlings. Their little brains clock at a much higher rate than ours, making the apparently simultaneous changes of direction mesmerising. Then after swirling they settle in a group of trees as if by telepathy. Of course the farmers do not like their feeding habits, like locusts.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  25. #1765
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay Burton View Post
    As if some kind of magic happens in the air. Tiny birds - and what splendor they can create. This is how much their intellect is developed for such a movement.
    In the old days, I would go to the Norfolk coast at dusk to watch the displays with tens of thousands of starlings. Their little brains clock at a much higher rate than ours, making the apparently simultaneous changes of direction mesmerising. Then after swirling they settle in a group of trees as if by telepathy. Of course the farmers do not like their feeding habits, like locusts.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  26. #1766
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    For some reason, this reminds me of two occasions where a goshawk attacked me for coming too close to its nest. Each time I was packing a shovel and put it up to defend myself.
    While hiking with some friends in the White Mountains of New Hampshire many years ago, we got swooped by a Great Horned Owl. I know how a mouse feels, a foot over our heads and it didn't make a sound. It actually swooped us twice; I suspect we were near its nest.
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  27. #1767
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    In the old days, I would go to the Norfolk coast at dusk to watch the displays with tens of thousands of starlings. Their little brains clock at a much higher rate than ours, making the apparently simultaneous changes of direction mesmerising. Then after swirling they settle in a group of trees as if by telepathy. Of course the farmers do not like their feeding habits, like locusts.
    I've read several articles on flocking behavior (or schooling in fish). You can actually model the behavior with a couple of very simple rules - there are even models on the web you can play with.
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  28. #1768
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I've read several articles on flocking behavior (or schooling in fish). You can actually model the behavior with a couple of very simple rules - there are even models on the web you can play with.
    That is nice and , I believe, such rules are used to have flocks of drones. Fish have pressure sensors along their skin to enable schooling and I guess birds have feather sensors similarly although vision could do the trick. I believe such pressure sensors can have faster pathways than vision. These pathways use the spinal cord And its processing power to avoid using the brain. But bird brains are fast. I have watched swallows dive into a gap over a door, assessing the interior for nest sites and fly back out in a second or so.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  29. #1769
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    Off-topic, but is there something going on with the forum that caused the two pairs of double posts just above?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  30. #1770
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    Watching the starling video brought up a could-have-been-unpleasant memory from my youth. I was out in the woods for an afternoon hunt on a nice fall day with clear skies and crunchy leaves underfoot. Suddenly, the sky darkened and a cacophonous din filled the air above me. Okay, it wasn't quite that dramatic but that flock of blackbirds (common grackles) was impressive and seemed to go on forever. Then I noticed the sound of raindrops falling on dried leaves all around me. Only, they weren't raindrops. Somehow, I walked away unscathed.
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