Homophobic Brazilian politician pro-coup, pro-torture


This BBC video says about itself:

Brazil Truth Commission: Victims revisit torture cells

10 December 2014

Nearly 30 years after the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship, a national truth commission is issuing a report into human rights abuses carried out during that time.

… people were killed or disappeared during the dictatorship and there have been renewed calls for a controversial amnesty law to be repealed.

Some of the women who were tortured at the Department of Political and Social Order have been back to the cells they were held in.

From teleSUR in South America:

Brazil Pro-Coup Lawmaker Probed for Support of Torture and Misogyny

28 June 2016

According to the complaint, Bolsonaro is also a self-declared homophobe and racist, and openly against the rights of LGBT and indigenous communities.

Brazil’s Congress opened an ethics investigation on Tuesday into Jair Bolsonaro, an outspoken lawmaker whose views on torture, rape and homosexuality are sparking concern that the country’s political crisis may foster an authoritarian political revival.

The ethics committee of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, will try to determine if Bolsonaro, a former Brazilian Army paratrooper, broke parliamentary decorum when he prefaced his vote in April to impeach President Dilma Rousseff with a speech praising Army Colonel Carlos Ustra.

Courts have found Ustra, a notorious Army intelligence officer during the 1964-1985 military regime, responsible for torture. Rousseff, a former left-wing insurgent, was tortured by Ustra’s Army intelligence unit.

For his congressional opponents, Bolsonaro’s backing of Ustra represents support of torture.

During the vote, the only openly gay lawmaker in Brazil’s Congress Jean Wyllys (Party of Socialism and Liberty) spit in Bolsonaro’s face after saying, “In the name of the Indigenous people, of the Black people exterminated in the suburbs, of culture workers, of homeless people, of landless workers, I am voting ‘No to the coup, you crooks.'”

Bolsonaro, Brazil’s fourth-most popular politician according to recent polls and a member of the Social Christian Party, is an extreme example of a broader shift to the right in Brazilian politics in the wake of Rousseff’s impeachment. Small groups of protesters in recent anti-Rousseff street marches were seen carrying signs calling for a return of military rule.

Conservative legislators in Brazil said recently they will back interim President Temer through a growing corruption scandal in return for support for tougher restrictions on abortion and gay rights, looser gun control and more power for farmers

rather: landlords

in disputes with Indian tribes.

A congressional ethics examination and resulting recommendation can lead to sanctions that include removal from office.

Bolsonaro said Ustra was never formally convicted and congressmen have immunity to say whatever they like on the chamber’s floor. Only five lawmakers attended the opening ethics committee meeting.

While Brazil’s constitution protects free speech, laws still exist making speech considered racist or hateful toward identifiable groups illegal. In some cases people have been charged under laws making it a crime to defend the use of illegal drugs.

In the end of April, the Brazilian Union for Writers also filed a complaint against Bolsonaro at the International Criminal Court over crimes against humanity, following his praise of Ustra. They claimed parliamentary immunity could not apply in the case, because Bolsonaro’s words were not related with his position as a lawmaker.

According to the complaint, Bolsonaro is also a self-declared homophobe and racist, and openly against the rights of LGBT and indigenous communities.

Bolsonaro is also defending himself in the Supreme Court against accusations of inciting rape for comments he made in December 2014. He said lawmaker María del Rosario, former Human Rights Minister under Dilma Rousseff was “very ugly” and “did not deserve to be raped.”

The local congress of Bolsonaro’s home city also recently declared him as “persona non grata” after he allegedly insulted the work of the city’s lawmakers.

Spoonbills resting, video


This 22 June 2016 video shows 84 spoonbills resting in Biesbosch national park in the Netherlands. Among them, a grey heron; and gadwall and shoveler ducks swimming. While swifts fly past.

Young osprey on video


This 28 June 2016 shows the osprey nest in Biesbosch national park. It is the first osprey nest ever known in the Netherlands.

I saw the nest myself. On the video in my report about that, one can see indirectly at least one young osprey is present, as it defecates in a curve over the side of the nest.

In this new video, one can see a young bird for the first time. Like other videos, it was filmed at a distance of hundreds of meters, as people being closer to the nest might disturb the ospreys.

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.