About petrel41

Blogging on animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women's issues, arts, and much more

Remembering the anti-homophobia Stonewall uprising


This video says about itself:

28 June 2016

What we know as “Gay Pride” now was born 47 years ago today at the Stonewall Inn, after the NYPD raided the popular LGBTQI bar in New York City. This raid sparked an uprising that would mark the beginning of the modern LGBT movement. Today we remember those who fought for their rights at Stonewall, and all of those who continue in the struggle for justice and equality.

Budgerigars and linguistics, new research


This video says about itself:

Budgies are grammar pedants too

20 June 2016

Just like us, these parrots use the grammatical structure of unfamiliar phrases to work out what they mean.

From New Scientist:

20 June 2016

Budgies use grammar to find meaning in unfamiliar phrases

By Colin Barras

Budgerigars are grammar pedants too. Just like us, these parrots use the grammatical structure of unfamiliar phrases to work out what they mean.

There is evidence that some birds pay attention to the order of sounds in a song, but this grammatical behaviour has not been well studied.

Michelle Spierings and Carel ten Cate at Leiden University in the Netherlands made new songs by piecing together three different snippets of recorded bird melodies. They played budgies and zebra finches certain patterns – such as AAB or ABA – and trained them to peck only when they heard AAB.

Order of play

The researchers then played new combinations to the birds. Because the zebra finches had learned not to peck for ABA, they also did not peck for CCA – apparently focusing on the fact the A snippet was in the final position in both cases.

But the budgies were different, focusing instead on the structure of the song. They pecked when they heard CCA, recognising that this is the same pattern as AAB. “They followed the structure and were not distracted by the positional changes,” says Spierings – the budgerigars are structural learners when it comes to grammar, like humans.

The results provide more evidence for convergent evolution of vocal learning in humans and birds, say the researchers. For instance, a study in 2014 found that dozens of genes involved in human vocal learning are active in a similar way in the brains of birds including both the zebra finch and the budgerigar.

Nuthatch’s life saved at bird photo hide


Nuthatch, 10 June 2016

On 10 June 2016 at the bird photography hide, there were many birds. Including this nuthatch.

Nuthatch, on 10 June 2016

Nuthatch, afternoon 10 June 2016

That was in the morning. Quite some nuthatches came all day; including this one in the afternoon.

Then, disaster. A nuthatch does not notice the window of the hide, and collides with it. It falls into the pond. Don’t let it drown! We grabbed the bird out of the water and put it on the bank of the pond. Close to us, no predators expected here. Too close for the telephoto lens. Is it dying; is it dead? No, it still breathes. Its eyes move a bit.

Then, it turns it head and looks at us. Again, later. About half an hour passes. Then, it turns it head to look at us again. Then, it flies off! I hope it did not suffer any permanent damage.

From eNatureBlog in the USA:

Do You Know What To Do When Birds Collide With Your Windows?

Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2016 by eNature

As spring continues and bird activity is peaking, you’ve probably noticed birds colliding with your windows, especially if you live in a wooded area.

This is a common but huge problem that takes the lives of millions of birds annually.

What can you do to keep birds from your windows?

And what should you do if you see a bird collide with your window?

Our birding expert, George Harrison (the birder, not the Beatle!) offers some tips below…..

How To Keep Birds From Hitting Windows

Window collisions occur when a flying bird sees the refection of the yard or sky in the glass and flies into it. Anything that will reduce or eliminate these reflections in the glass will reduce bird collisions.

Some people hang shiny streamers or fine screening on the windows during peak migration periods. Others cloud the glass with soap. If the house is under construction, the windows can be installed tilting downward slightly to reduce reflections.

Other people paste silhouettes of hawks, owls, or spider webs on the windows, which is effective only around the area where the silhouette is located. Locating feeders on or near the windows will reduce the speed at which birds hit the glass.

What To Do If A Bird Hits Your Window

George states, “It has been my experience that only one out of ten collisions is fatal.” He adds that usually the bird is stunned, falls to the ground, and begins a period of recovery that may take up to an hour.

During that recovery period, the bird is vulnerable to hawks, house cats, or weather conditions. Some hawks have learned a hunting strategy of swooping down on active bird feeders, causing the birds to panic in all directions, including into windows, where they become easy prey.

To protect a stunned bird that has hit a window, George suggests covering it with a large kitchen sieve. The bird is less visible and is confined, allowing it time to recover. When the bird attempts to leave the sieve, it has recovered enough to be liberated.

Iceland, football victory celebration and birds


This video says about itself:

27 June 2016

Iceland fans celebrate in Reykjavik after team knocked England out of Euro 2016

Iceland had never qualified for a major tournament prior to the European Championship, and it is the smallest country in the tournament. That didn’t stop the island nation from toppling England, with Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scoring after Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in the fourth minute from the penalty spot. Watch as Iceland’s fans, many of whom packed a town square in Reykjavik, go crazy during and after the historic win.

To contribute to the celebration, this 2015 video is about birds in Iceland, including snow bunting, redwing, Arctic tern, puffin and many others. It reminds me of when I was in Iceland long ago.

New Triassic marine reptile species discovery


This 2012 video, in Italian, is about Lariosaurus valceresii and Lariosaurus balsami Triassic marine reptiles.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Amateur paleontologist finds skull of prehistoric reptile

Today, 06:05

Never before the animal had been found in the Netherlands; Lariosaurus. Now a 4.5 centimeter skull of the flippered fish-eater has been found in a quarry in Winterswijk.

Amateur paleontologist Remco Bleeker was the lucky one who found the skull. Bleeker, in everyday life a concrete repairer, is pleased with the find. …

Bleeker brought the skull for examination to Germany, where it was found that it was a Lariosaurus.

Muschelkalk

In the quarry at Winterswijk Triassic limestone is extracted from rock layers from the Triassic geological period some 240 million years ago. In the quarry Bleeker also once found a peculiar fossil of a toothy marine animal. This fossil, which was seen by experts as a missing link was even named after him: the Palatodonta bleekeri.

The skull of the lariosaurus has been given the name of the hamlet where it was found. “The first is named after me. Now it was time to honor the quarry,” says Bleeker, who gave his find on loan to Museum TwentseWelle.

The name of the newly discovered species is Lariosaurus vosseveldensis; after Vosseveld hamlet.

See also here.

The scientific description of the new species is here.