Birds

version

Warehouse Operative
A bird fell out of the sky today, that or it fell off the roof or out of the gutter. Found it lying on its side on the concrete with its leg twitching and eye blinking. It just lay there for a while then got on its feet and stood there for a while then suddenly took off.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"For a bird, there are only two sorts of bird: their own sort, and those that are dangerous. No others exist."
It doesn't sound right though that quote though does it? You would think that there are their own sort and those that are dangerous - and also those they can eat. No? At least for birds that eat other birds.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
There was a nature programme on telly the other day which, to be honest, we weren't really watching, but then a bit came on about a bird called (I think) an eagle hawk, or possibly hawk eagle, and our ears do always prick up when it's something about a bird as opposed to yet another of those countless shows about lions - and, in fact, if I see all the bears gathering where the salmon spawn after swimming upriver again, I swear I'll do time, but I digress - and this bird lives somewhere and um, every day or possibly once a decade I dunno I missed the explanation, this enormous horde of bats comes out of their massive cave or down from the moon or the trees or wherever they live that's not the point and this hawk eagle thing is ready for them and it is perfectly evolved to catch up to them and it has weirdly long legs so it can basically stretch out and pluck a bat out of the air with one talon, maybe it can get two at a time but that does seem unlikely cos it would have to fly chasing them slowed by a bat in one claw. But then again there are so many bats it can hardly miss so who knows.
But what was really interesting was these hornbills which look like this

Great_hornbill_Photograph_by_Shantanu_Kuveskar.jpg


And which are just chilling in the trees nearby eating fruit as they have evolved to do, but they see all these bats flying around and the buzzard falcon chasing them and they start getting sort of interested and you can almost see the cogs spinning and they are thinking "I wonder what they taste like? Maybe I can catch one" and then they go flying into the humongous bat cloud but compared to the real hunters who are seemingly snatching bats almost at will, they are comically unaerodynamic and in total contrast to the raptor their legs are short and stubby and of course they wouldn't be able to grab with them anyway.... but but, somehow - and sadly I think they missed the bit where it actually caught one - you see the hornbill with a bat in its mouth and it sort of gulps it down like if you've ever seen that footage of a pelican in London eating a pigeon, which (the horrnbill not the pelican) was apparently completely unknown behaviour that had never been known about before, never mind been caught on camera. Fascinating and weird.
 

catalog

Well-known member
It doesn't sound right though that quote though does it? You would think that there are their own sort and those that are dangerous - and also those they can eat. No? At least for birds that eat other birds.
Maybe he would put "prey" as a different category altogether? Cos birds that eat other birds also eat other things that are not birds?

Or are there some birds that only eat other birds.

That book was weird and full of non sequitors like the sentence I quotes. There was something a bit unsatisfying about it.
 

catalog

Well-known member
There was a nature programme on telly the other day which, to be honest, we weren't really watching, but then a bit came on about a bird called (I think) an eagle hawk, or possibly hawk eagle, and our ears do always prick up when it's something about a bird as opposed to yet another of those countless shows about lions - and, in fact, if I see all the bears gathering where the salmon spawn after swimming upriver again, I swear I'll do time, but I digress - and this bird lives somewhere and um, every day or possibly once a decade I dunno I missed the explanation, this enormous horde of bats comes out of their massive cave or down from the moon or the trees or wherever they live that's not the point and this hawk eagle thing is ready for them and it is perfectly evolved to catch up to them and it has weirdly long legs so it can basically stretch out and pluck a bat out of the air with one talon, maybe it can get two at a time but that does seem unlikely cos it would have to fly chasing them slowed by a bat in one claw. But then again there are so many bats it can hardly miss so who knows.
But what was really interesting was these hornbills which look like this

Great_hornbill_Photograph_by_Shantanu_Kuveskar.jpg


And which are just chilling in the trees nearby eating fruit as they have evolved to do, but they see all these bats flying around and the buzzard falcon chasing them and they start getting sort of interested and you can almost see the cogs spinning and they are thinking "I wonder what they taste like? Maybe I can catch one" and then they go flying into the humongous bat cloud but compared to the real hunters who are seemingly snatching bats almost at will, they are comically unaerodynamic and in total contrast to the raptor their legs are short and stubby and of course they wouldn't be able to grab with them anyway.... but but, somehow - and sadly I think they missed the bit where it actually caught one - you see the hornbill with a bat in its mouth and it sort of gulps it down like if you've ever seen that footage of a pelican in London eating a pigeon, which (the horrnbill not the pelican) was apparently completely unknown behaviour that had never been known about before, never mind been caught on camera. Fascinating and weird.
Classic rich disco story. Love it.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
What, right now? I can neither confirm or deny....
I don't know if you saw what I said in one of the other threads about how I have to have all these tests done to switch my UK licence to a Portuguese one, but, long story short, seems I am gonna have to wear glasses. In fact my eyes are really bad, I suppose that since I last was tested, which must have been - I dunno - more than twenty years ago, they have deteriorating slowly enough that I never noticed any change from one day to the next, but steadily enough that they I know require glasses. In fact, I have an appointment with an eye specialist to make sure that there is nothing more seriously wrong.
But my reason for mentioning it here is cos I wonder if, once I have glasses, I will find it easier to see and identify birds. Of course i have always found it easier to identify big and/or colourful birds and I struggle with the small green and brown kinds of birds which you get in meadows and marshland - in fact it would be closer to the truth to say to say that I simply can't differentiate them at all. Perhaps with glasses things will improve.
Lately there is one (kind of) bird that I have seen around but can't identify, it's quite small, maybe sparrow size or a bit smaller, but black with a couple of red patches on the back, above the tail.
I feel that it is something that I have seen and maybe even identified previously but if that is the case then I have long forgotten what it is. I doubt it is anything rare cos I have seen it in a couple of different places and one time I think there were two of them nearby. I flicked through a load of pictures of small birds that can be found in Portugal and none of them were it as far as I could tell. So if anyone has any ideas as to what it might be then please do let me know.
 

catalog

Well-known member
No I don't recall seeing that about switching licences. Good luck with the eye test though! I've never been interested enough in birds to do any serious bird watching. I'm saving it up tho, I reckon I would be bang into it in a few years.
 

jenks

thread death
Saw a peregrine last night while I was warming up for a race - just sitting there on a telegraph pole - with a fuck off imperiousness. about half a mile up the road is a great big community of crows that make a great racket as they head home of an evening. Put me in mind of a Clare poem i think i have shared here before

I love to hear the evening crows go by
And see the starnels darken down the sky.
The bleaching stack the bustling sparrow leaves
And plops with merry note beneath the eaves.
The odd and lated pigeon bounces by
As if a wary watching hawk was nigh,
While far and fearing nothing, high and slow,
The stranger birds to distant places go,
While short of flight the evening robin comes
To watch the maiden sweeping out the crumbs
Nor fears the idle shout of passing boy
But pecks about the door and sings for joy;
Then in the hovel where the cows are fed
Finds till the morning comes a pleasant bed.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
Axel Bushing
7 years ago
I once heard a mockingbird imitate a Dusky Seaside Sparrow, some fifteen years after the Duskies were officially declared extinct. This indicates that some songs are learned from the parent birds and passed down through generations. A type of bird music culture, if you will.
 

jenks

thread death
I show this to my A level language students every year - the bit relevant to this thread starts at about 36 minutes in - zebra finches and their song
 

version

Warehouse Operative
Axel Bushing
7 years ago
I once heard a mockingbird imitate a Dusky Seaside Sparrow, some fifteen years after the Duskies were officially declared extinct. This indicates that some songs are learned from the parent birds and passed down through generations. A type of bird music culture, if you will.
I recently watched a documentary on the mating rituals of exotic birds and one of them could imitate other species. It was bizarre. It scared off a pig that was messing up part of its nest by making a sound like a barking dog in the distance.

I don't think this is the same type of bird, but it's got a similar ability.

 

william_kent

Well-known member

Wild Cockatoos make their own cutlery sets

Goffin’s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana) are so smart they’ve been compared to 3-year-old humans. But what 3-year-old has made their own cutlery set? Scientists have observed wild cockatoos, members of the parrot family, crafting the equivalent of a crowbar, an ice pick, and a spoon to pry open one of their favorite fruits. This is the first time any bird species has been seen creating and using a set of tools in a specific order—a cognitively challenging behavior previously known only in humans, chimpanzees, and capuchin monkeys.

more on the clever cockatoos: Wild Goffin’s cockatoos flexibly manufacture and use tool sets

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