Monthly Archives: January 2011

Clever Crows / A Cunning Penguin/ A Smart Frog / A Grateful Whale / A Lucky Joey / A Sassy Fox

 

Just how smart are animals, birds and fish?

Well, a crow is a frequent visitor to my house. He sits outside the backdoor and I throw him some minced meat or an egg as a treat.

I’ve noticed him pick up the egg and bury it in the garden under leaves and then fly back for more treats while the going is good. I think this is smart.

But I was much more surprised when one day I was sitting at my dining room table near an open window and I heard a bird crowing. I automatically looked up and sitting in the tree directly outside the dining room window was the crow staring at me. So I stood up and walked around to the kitchen door with some minced meat and the bird flew directly around to the back door to receive his meal.

A week or so later I was lying on my bed watching television and I heard my crow calling me. I looked up in surprise and the crow was perched on the tree directly outside my bedroom window! How amazing. Once again I got up and went to the back of the house and there he was, waiting for his dinner again.

So this crow knows that when he wants a snack all he has to do is fly around the house peering in the windows until he finds me. Then he has to call me and I’ll come running with food.

A while ago I received an email containing a video. The video was of a penguin in Antarctica trying to outmanoeuvre three orcas (killer whales). It looked pretty grim for the poor penguin until it spotted a zodiac containing some tourists. Then quick as a flash it launched out of the water and landed on the craft. The penguin walked around the zodiac, peering over the side into the water. The orcas surfaced and glared open-mouthed at the triumphant penguin. Fortunately for the penguin (and the occupants of the zodiac), the orcas gave up the chase and with a look of disdain, choofed off to look for something else to eat.

In December, 2004 when the tsunami hit Banda Aceh,  Indonesia, despite the huge human death toll, by and large, animals escaped unscathed. Animals were seen leaving the area well in advance of the actual event.  At Sri Lanka’s national wildlife park at Yala, which houses elephants, buffalo, monkeys, and wild cats, no animal corpses were found. http://www.slate.com/id/2111608/ Animals have a keener sense of hearing than humans and are able to register much lower and higher sound frequencies. Maybe this is why? One writer has a different view on why this might be so http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Levitation-Possible-Or-is-it-an-Illusion?&id=2444275

If you need further proof of the cleverness of animals, keep reading this blog. There is a frog riding to safety on the back of a snake and at the very end, a red fox riding to safety on top of a tyre. Stupid? I think not!

To read about the cleverness of many creatures see http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/animal-minds/musi-photography

FROG RIDES TO SAFETY ON BACK OF SNAKE   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The above photo was taken in the flooded Queensland town of Dalby. Apparently animals – even natural enemies – often work together when they are under threat. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8195243/frog-hitches-ride-with-snake-to-flee-floods

A CROSS-EYED POSSUM!

Heidi, the cross-eyed possum is an attraction at Leipzig Zoo in Germany. She has misaligned eyeballs and already had 70,000 Facebook fans due to her obvious cuteness. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

DISAPPEARING WILDLIFE OF MADAGASCAR

If there’s one place on earth that has always enticed me it’s Madagascar. After I read about the Lemur being the only creature on earth that can eat the strychnine berry without ill effect, I was hooked.

But sadly, due to illegal logging, the native forests of Madagascar have been chopped down to make way for rice plantations. So, there goes the very intriguing wildlife which is so unique to Madagascar.

British photographer, Nick Garbutt, has taken some fascinating photos of the creatures in the jungles and you can see them here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/8231475/Madagascar-British-photographer-Nick-Garbutts-20-year-survey-of-the-islands-wildlife.htm as, at the current rate of destruction, it seems unlikely that these creatures will be around for much longer.

Last year Stephen Fry went to Madagascar to photograph the critically endangered Aye-Aye https://roslynmotter.com/2010/10/14/oh-no-no-not-the-aye-aye-now/

Well, remember that famous Cree Indian prophesy –

When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

A GRATEFUL WHALE  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.  Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

I hate to be the party pooper who said this, but if humans hadn’t left the netting in the first place, the whale wouldn’t have had the problem. But I guess that’s being petty of me under the circumstances. Obviously whales are a forgiving lot.

ORIGAMI ANIMALS

Have a look at these very clever Origami animals. http://web.mit.edu/chosetec/www/origami/

FYI that means that they’ve been modelled from paper. Very talented!

MAN IGNORES POLICE TO SAVE JOEY

I’m ever so happy to read stories like this. Ray Cole, a father of five,  jumped into flood waters at Ipswich, despite police warnings, to rescue a baby kangaroo which was being swept away. Fortunately he was able to rescue the joey and now it’s in the hands of wildlife carers.  http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8196002/man-ignores-police-to-save-joey

There is also another touching story about a girl who rescued a terrified blue-tongue lizard which was about to fall into flood waters in Brisbane.http://news.ninemsn.com.au/yourfloodstories/?directTarget=6556||special3d||17#anchor

And a man took a photo of a red fox escaping the floods by sailing downstream on a tyre. And who said animals are stupid? http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/floods/8196500/fox-outwits-floods-with-tyre-ride

NOTE TO QUEENSLANDERS WITH PETS 

If you are in a flood area and would like somewhere to leave your pets, this lady can help you. See http://news.ninemsn.com.au/yourfloodstories/?directTarget=6556||special3d||22#anchor 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


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Fish and Birds Commit Mass Suicide

Could it be that bird and sealife is giving up?

THE recent spate of mass animal deaths around the world is sparking conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions on the web.

From the US to New Zealand, from Britain to Brazil, bizarre cases of birds, fish and crabs turning up dead en masse have been reported in the past two weeks and no one seems to know why.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world/is-it-an-animal-apocalypse-here-are-the-facts-and-theories-about-recent-mass-die-offs/story-e6frfkyi-1225983078355#ixzz1AFDibzKf

First we have the inexplicable deaths last week of 83,000 drum fish which were washed up along a 32km stretch of the Arkansas River, about 160km west of Beebe, Arkansas and now dozens of dead snapper have washed up on a beach in Auckland, New Zealand. http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/carpet-of-dead-snapper-on-new-zealand-beaches/story-e6frfku0-1225982188696.

And in Port Orange, Florida US, hundreds of dead fish floated around the waterways near homes, WFTV reported, surrounded by swarms of pelicans and buzzards. Kayakers on the creek told WFTV they’d seen fish around every bend and it appeared to be one of the most extensive kills they had seen.

On the Coast of Paranaguá, Brazil at least 100 tonnes of sardine, croaker and catfish have washed up on beaches over the past week, Parana Online reported. The President of the Federation of Fishermen’s Colony of Parana, Edmir Manoel Ferreira, said at least 2800 fishermen depend on the daily seafood. “We are experiencing a very sad situation on the coast,” he said.

Biologists have explained the deaths in Brazil could be because of a possible increase in the concentration of algae that produce toxins. This increase may lead to death in some species, such as sardines.

In Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, US, the Baltimore Sun reported an estimated two million spot fish died and washed up on the shore. The dead fish are mostly adult spot, with some juvenile croakers. State officials are investigating but suspect it was because of the near-record cold. Agency spokeswoman Dawn Stoltzfus said spot are susceptible to colder water, she said, and normally leave the upper bay by now. They were perhaps late getting out.

Water samples taken from the bay showed elevated levels of two species of toxic algae.

In Thanet, Kent, England 40,000 dead velvet swimming crabs, or “devil crabs” were washed up on Thanet beaches. Tony Childs, Thanet Coast Project Manager, told the Daily Mail: “We had a crash in numbers last year and we hadn’t expected such a large population. As happens with the circle of life in nature, we expect the crabs to be naturally dispersed from our shores very quickly by our local seagulls.”

Velvet Swimming Crab (ukdivers.net)

The cold weather in Britain has been blamed for the deaths. “We are hopeful the crab population will soon recover,” said Mr Childs.
The Daily Mail reported that the mass crab deaths made up 95 per cent of marine life affected by the cold snap.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world/is-it-an-animal-apocalypse-here-are-the-facts-and-theories-about-recent-mass-die-offs/story-e6frfkyi-1225983078355#ixzz1AFHv3bIT

And dead birds are raining on us out of the skies. Four to five thousand dead black birds fell out of the sky just 580km to the south of Beebe, Arkansas. The only reason that has been given so far is that the birds were spooked by New Year fireworks.  The sound caused them to panic and as they flew around in the dark they hit against things and fell to their deaths.

And in nearby Louisiana an estimated 500 red-winged blackbirds and starlings have been found dead, a local newspaper reports – just a few days and a short distance away from where the thousands of black birds died in Arkansas.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/more-birds-fall-out-of-sky-as-mystery-deepens/story-e6frfku0-1225982169450#ixzz1A6gUlmyp

And  100 jackdaw birds were found lying dead in the street in Sweden http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/is-it-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it/

On Saturday in Romania, dozens of starlings drank themselves to death after eating grapes left over from the wine-making process.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/romanian-birds-drank-themselves-to-death/story-e6frfku0-1225985964860#ixzz1AlMMjmw9

I can understand why fish might have given up the ghost. The state of play in the ocean is disgraceful. The sea can no longer afford to supply us with the millions of tonnes of sealife we are hauling out of it annually and trawlers have to go further and further out to sea as we annihilate the sealife closer to shore.

And let’s not forget the pollution in the sea. We have millions of tonnes of oil floating around out there, courtesy of BP, Shell and leaking ships. We have oodles of plastic floating around https://roslynmotter.com/2010/09/09/sailing-in-a-plastic-sea/and also the sea has proven to be a wonderful depository for our chemical waste. In Sydney we have been warned not to eat any fish caught west of Sydney Harbour as the Union Carbide pesticide factory at Homebush tipped all its chemical waste into the ocean for decades. Commercial fishing was banned in the harbour in December 2005 after raised levels of potentially harmful dioxins, a group of organic chemicals, were found in several species of fish and crustaceans. http://www.topix.com/forum/world/australia/TIVRE215CKAE3IN9T

In the sky things are hardly better. Have a look at these statistics of what kills birds http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htm –

Man-made structure/technology Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.)
Feral and domestic cats Hundreds of millions
Power lines 130 million — 174 million
Windows (residential and commercial) 100 million — 1 billion
Pesticides 70 million
Automobiles 60 million — 80 million
Lighted communication towers 40 million — 50 million
Wind turbines 10,000 — 40,000

[/source]

Now what happened to my tree? http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/

A family of kookaburras for example, live in the hollow of the same tree for two hundred years or longer. Well, that is, unless the tree is chopped down – and we’re certainly doing plenty of that in Australia. Tens of thousands of trees were chopped down to build the M7 Tollway in Sydney.

Trees are routinely poisoned to protect views. Trees are seen as a real enemy by many suburbanites. I know a woman who said that one Saturday afternoon her family went out to the movies for a couple of hours.  When they returned home, a tree which had hitherto grown proudly in the middle of their backyard, had completely disappeared and there was not a leaf or twig to indicate that it had ever stood there.  She maintains that the next door neighbour who hated the said tree, had annhilated it in her absence. https://roslynmotter.com/2010/09/02/so-what-is-the-point-of-trees-anyway/

And we’re already paying the price for that mindset. The flooded rivers in Queensland are running brown with our precious top soil. The trees that used to hold it in place have been chopped down so all it took was a deluge to wash it all out to sea.When societies exhaust their topsoil, they collapse or are forced to move. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/floods-steal-precious-topsoil–and-future-goes-down-drain-20110109-19jrq.html

And in a sadistic and nasty slaughter in NZ recently, more than 100 Endangered Black-billed Gulls Larus bulleri, a New Zealand endemic undergoing a steep decline, have been slaughtered at a colony near Wreys Bush in Southland. Department of Conservation ranger Ros Cole said that most of the birds died from bullet wounds, but others had broken bones and some chicks were found starving to death beside their dead parents.

And dolphins (although not classified as fishes) are not faring too well either. People on jet skis are being warned to be careful after a baby dolphin was found dead on the Mornington Peninsula with a broken jaw and skull last week.

And of course there are the poor dolphins and small whales who are annually rounded up and slaughtered in the coastal town of Taiji in Japan.

So who would want to be a bird or a fish? Could this be why they are possibly committing mass suicide?

Conspiracy theorists Joseph Watson and Alex Jones of prisonplanet.com blame it on “the government”. According to the site authorities have “routinely engaged in secret testing of biological and electromagnetic weapons that have detrimentally impacted both humans and animals many times in the past.”

According to Watson and Jones “Scalar weapons that can artificially manipulate the environment could be responsible for the mass die offs. We know for a fact that over a decade ago the U.S. Military Industrial Complex was aware of and involved in the testing of such technology.”

Maybe it is a government conspiracy to do selective killings. If so, then we are all even closer to the end than we think.

Or maybe the world is such an unfriendly place to fish and bird life that they’d just rather die than continue to struggle on against the odds.

In any case, we should ponder on the Cree Indians’ famous prophecy which is becoming all too close for comfort –

When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.
~ Cree Prophecy

and Roslyn J. Motter’s opinion on humans –

If mankind disappeared today

What would all the animals say?

Birds, koalas and even bees,

Would sing with joy – they’d now have trees!

Tigers, elephants, all kinds of bear,

Could now roam free- without a care.

Their rivers would run unpolluted

Man and Earth are so unsuited!

But hey, don’t worry, we’re the master race so we’ll think of something clever!

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Happy New Year – but not for the birds!

Something very peculiar happened in Arkansas on the weekend.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8191298/birds-fish-die-en-masse-in-arkansas

Firstly 100,000 drum fish died for no particular reason and then 5000 black birds fell out of the sky – dead.

At first it was speculated by game and fish commission ornithologist Karen Rowe that “the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail”, the Associated Press reported.

Now it has been officially confirmed by the State veterinarian that New Year’s Eve revellers shooting off fireworks in the area startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.

A local resident reported hearing about 20 loud booms on Saturday night – which could have been fireworks or a cannon to get rid of nuisance birds – and saw a huge flock of frantic birds when he went outside.

“He could hear the blackbirds fluttering around – he could hear their wings and he could hear them hitting into things,” Badley said.

Blackbirds have poor night vision and they were likely killed because they banged into houses and trees in their fright.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/loud-noises-likely-scared-birds-to-death-in-arkansas/story-e6frfku0-1225981476874#ixzz1A0rxyabz

Hmm, I’ve been wondering about the cost to wildlife of our entertaining fireworks every new year.

Last year I was on a boat in Darling Harbour and I was quite disturbed by the anxiety of the seagulls at midnight when the fireworks went off. They scattered – screeching hysterically – as every firework exploded. It was fairly upsetting to watch.

On 12th June, 2010 the Belfast Telegraph reported that a controversial pyrotechnics display beside a wildlife hotspot went ahead after a council claimed there was no scientific evidence that birds would be disturbed.

But residents living near Six Mile Water wetland habitat area in Ballyclare have alleged that a wildlife crime may have been committed when the display was held at the end of Ballyclare May Fair. It is illegal to disturb nesting birds.

Meanwhile, the RSPB warned that fireworks must never be set off next to birds’ breeding and roosting areas.

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/anger-over–council-fireworks-display-near-bird-sanctuary-14840252.html#ixzz19xaGtMiG

On 5th November, 2010, according to  http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/263589-remember-remember-wildlife-on-bonfire-night  RSPB Cymru gave advice on protecting birds and other wildlife from bonfires and fireworks.

 RSPB Cymru urged everyone to spare a thought for garden wildlife this bonfire night.

At night-time in particular, birds are likely to be roosting in trees and bushes, and the wildlife charity is warning that holding firework displays too close to their shelters could disturb them.

 Although there is no evidence to suggest fireworks cause conservation problems, loud bangs and flashing lights too close could cause birds to move on, and every movement made in the cold weather uses up vital energy supplies.

RSPB Cymru asked anyone planning a bonfire or fireworks display in their garden to avoid doing it too close to nest boxes. Even if the nesting period is over and young birds have long gone, many birds use nestboxes for shelter over winter.



This advice, although very wise, is not helpful in Australia because private fireworks displays are illegal. The government or councils set off the fireworks displays.

If every bird in the world was to fall down dead it would not stop any country’s New Year firework displays.

However, the sky is their home and they don’t understand what is happening when the sky explodes with smoke and horrible noises and bright lights.

And let’s not forget the dogs, cats and wildlife that suffer because of the fireworks.

According to  http://www.dorwest.com/Top/Common-Problems/N/Noise-Phobias-Fireworks thunderstorms, fireworks, gun shots or any loud or sudden noises can disturb and frighten dogs and cats. These often occur unexpectedly, making it difficult to help your pet cope with the stress caused, especially if you don’t want to resort to total sedation which is something not now recommended by vets for these type of situations.

It is estimated that around 50% of dogs are afraid of loud noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms and gun shots, and many cats suffer too. This fear reaction can become extreme and some pets develop firework phobias, showing a level of fear that seems out of proportion with the sound. Many pets suffer during the fireworks season, which can often continue right through until the New Year. There are also other occasions when loud noises can cause stress and anxiety. The fear this causes can result in a noise phobia where the dog or cat will become anxious and distressed upon hearing any loud noise and most pets with noise phobia experience worsening signs each year.

I have just received an email from my cousin Annette, in Holland who tells me, ‘It’s like a war zone here as soon as the fireworks are on sale, so when 12 arrives, it’s no surprise, as one has been forced to hear the noise the whole day. 2 teenagers dead because of firework bombs, school burnt down, church burnt down and cars destroyed, is definitely not appealing, all one too many, it’s time to introduce a law or a EC law against private fireworks.’

Is there a point to the Australian government wasting $5 million on fireworks when surely half that amount would produce a terrific show. Of course, now they feel obligated to surpass the previous years’ displays. So soon they’ll be spending $10 million for sure.

So what’s the solution? I wish I knew. I can only recommend that all pets be kept safely inside during firework displays. Unfortunately we can’t do the same for all wildlife and birds.

And I wonder what killed all those fish?

To find the answer to that question, have a look at my next blog.

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