Archive for: March, 2006

Who Are the REAL Enemies of our Wildlife?

Mar 31 2006 Published by under Nature

It has just come to my attention, dear readers, that two days ago, on Wednesday, federal agents from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Orange County, Florida, shot and killed a pair of nesting red-shouldered hawks, Buteo lineatus (pictured, photo by Bob Gress), after they had previously removed the birds' nest and eggs. [NOT TRUE: several readers later told me that the nest and chicks remained in place until days after the adults were killed. The chicks, of course, died.]
The birds made the unfortunate choice to nest on the grounds of a hoity-toity golf course, Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Resort, which is near Interstate 4 and south of the Dr. Phillips community. The birds, who were obviously in the nest-guarding phase of their breeding cycle, launched approximately one dozen attacks on guests staying at this playground for the rich and intolerant, holding them hostage.

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London Underground

Mar 31 2006 Published by under Humor, Streaming videos

WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
Sound, flash, gratuitous use of vulgar language, including the dreaded c-word.
Pretty funny, though. Seeks to answer all your questions about public transit.

Original source: London Underground.

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Birds in the News 53 (v2n4)

Mar 31 2006 Published by under Birds in the News


Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, with reflection.
Click image for larger view in another window.
Photo: TFlockhart.

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7 responses so far

Keep your Prayers to Yourself!

Mar 31 2006 Published by under Godlessness

"I'll pray for you."
How many times in your life have you heard that comment? Have you ever wondered what, if anything, prayer actually accomplishes? Have you occasionally felt somewhat .. uncomfortable? .. or threatened, perhaps? .. knowing that complete strangers were praying for you? A scientific study will be published next week that examines these questions regarding the so-called power of prayer.

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Cockroaches: Group Thinkers?

Mar 30 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

As some of you know, I live with a large group of cockroaches that boldly infest my apartment, along with those of all my neighbors. Call me crazy, but it always seemed to me that the smaller, more numerous, German cockroaches, Blattella germanica, made decisions together, or they appeared to at least consult with each other before hauling off my refrigerator as a well-organized team. But several scientists confirmed my suspicions today when they published their research suggesting that cockroaches are democratic group thinkers.

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6 responses so far

Audubon's Aviary

Mar 30 2006 Published by under Art & Photography, NYC life


Ivory-Billed Woodpecker trio, Campephilus principalis,
by John James Audubon.

Hey everyone, it might surprise you to learn that I saw ivory-billed woodpeckers in NYC recently! Even better, I saw a trio, and I stood so close that I could have reached out and touched them! I clearly saw the spectacular iridescent flash of red from the male's crest, the two nearly parallel white stripes down the birds' backs, the snowy wings, and the huge pale bills. After such a close look at them, there was no mistaking these birds for anything other than ivory-billed woodpeckers.

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6 responses so far

I and the Bird #20 Available!

Mar 30 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

The newest edition of I and the Bird, the "bird.icio.us!" edition, is now available at Bootstrap Analysis. I and the Bird is a blog carnival that celebrates the best writing about wild birds recently published on a blog and this issue includes a piece that I wrote.

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The First South Pacific Island Dinosaurs Unearthed

Mar 29 2006 Published by under Paleontology, South Pacific Islands


Fossilized mosasaur skull (source linked from image).
Mosasaurs are marine reptiles, not dinosaurs.
But the reason I show this fossil here will (hopefully) become more obvious after you read the story.

A 2 kilometer-long treasure trove of fossilized bones, teeth and claws from dinosaurs and ancient reptiles was recently unearthed on the Chatham Islands, approximately 850 kilometers (530 miles) east of New Zealand (see map, below), proving that dinosaurs also inhabited South Pacific islands.
Jeffrey Stilwell, a US-born fellow in palaeontology at Melbourne's Monash University, said he accidentally discovered the fossilized foot, finger and spinal bones of carnivorous dinosaurs when he visited the Chatham Islands in 2003.

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Delayed Brain Development Associated with Greater Intelligence

Mar 29 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

A new study will be published tomorrow revealing that, on average, human brains mature later in those people who have the greatest intelligence. This research was done using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize the regions of children's brains as they matured (example of an MRI pictured, right. Source linked from image). The scientists' data show that the outer portion of the brain, the cortex -- or the thinking part of the brain -- thickens and then thins during early childhood years, when the children were approximately 6 years old. However, they found that kids with greater intelligence show these same changes later than those with average intelligence -- some as late as 11 years of age.

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7 responses so far

Tangled Bank #50 Available

Mar 29 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

The Tangled BankThe 50th edition of the long-running blog carnival, the Tangled Bank, is now available at Island of Doubt. As always, TB is packed full of great information about science, nature and medicine, including a piece that I wrote (and forgot that I'd submitted).

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