Crows don’t deserve their bad reputation


This video from Los Angeles in the USA says about itself:

Raven’s nest with 6 eggs on window ledge of office building located in WLA

From ScienceDaily:

Bad reputation of crows demystified

Date: January 23, 2015

Source: Plataforma SINC

Summary:

In literature, crows and ravens are a bad omen and are associated with witches. Most people believe they steal, eat other birds’ eggs and reduce the populations of other birds.

But a new study, which has brought together over 326 interactions between corvids and their prey, demonstrates that their notoriety is not entirely merited. The study analyzed the impact of six species of corvid on a total of 67 species of bird susceptible to being their prey, among which are game birds and passerine birds.

In literature, crows and ravens are a bad omen and are associated with witches. Most people believe they steal, eat other birds’ eggs and reduce the populations of other birds. But a new study, which has brought together over 326 interactions between corvids and their prey, demonstrates that their notoriety is not entirely merited.

Corvids — the bird group that includes crows, ravens and magpies — are the subject of several population control schemes, in both game and conservation environments. These controls are based on the belief that destroying them is good for other birds. They are also considered to be effective predators capable of reducing the populations of their prey.

However, a study published recently in the journal ‘Ibis’ analysed the impact of six species of corvid on a total of 67 species of bird susceptible to being their prey, among which are game birds and passerine birds.

The project, which compiled the information of 42 scientific studies and analysed a total of 326 interactions between corvids and their prey, shows that they have a much smaller effect on other bird species than was previously thought.

As Beatriz Arroyo — author of the study and a researcher at the Institute of Research in Game Resources (IREC), a joint centre of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, the Castilla-La Mancha Community Council and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) — says: “In 81% of cases studied, corvids did not present a discernible impact on their potential prey. Furthermore, in 6% of cases, some apparently beneficial relationships were even observed.”

Greater impact on reproduction

To find out what impact corvids have on their prey, the researchers — in conjunction with the University of Cape Town (South Africa) — conducted several experiments in which they isolated crows, ravens and magpies, among other predators, to observe how they affected the reproduction and abundance of other birds.

According to the works analysed, when crows were taken away from their habitat, the survival rates of chickens and the number of eggs of other species were higher in most cases. Nevertheless, with respect to abundance, without corvids an increased size of the populations of other birds was observed only in a small number of cases.

According to the study, when crows were removed from the environment, in 46% of cases their prey had greater reproductive success, while their abundance fell in less than 10% of cases.

Additionally, these experimental studies carried out in nine different countries (Canada, France, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA) revealed that, if corvids are eliminated but other predators are not, the impact on the productivity of their prey would be positive in only 16% of cases; whilst without corvids and other predators, including carnivores, the productivity of other birds improves in 60% of cases.

This suggests that crows, ravens and magpies, amongst others, have a lower impact on prey than other threats. “Compensatory predation can also occur,” the researcher explains.

In the study they also compared the effects between different groups of corvids. In these results it is striking that “magpies had much less impact on prey than other species,” Arroyo claims.

Comparing crows and magpies, the scientists showed that in 62% of cases crows impacted negatively on the reproduction of their prey, whilst magpies had a negative effect in 12% of cases. “But no differences related to the abundance of prey were noted,” the scientist affirms.

For the authors of this piece of research, given the results it is necessary to “be cautious” when drawing conclusions on the impact of magpies or crows on the populations of their prey. “This method of managing populations is frequently ineffective and unnecessary,” Arroyo finishes.

Unarmed Ezell Ford, killed by Los Angeles police, new report


This video from the USA says about itself:

Ezell Ford Autopsy Suggests The Cops’ Story Might Not Add Up

30 December 2014

“The official autopsy report for Ezell Ford, an unarmed, mentally ill black man shot to death by Los Angeles police in August, was released by the county coroner’s office Monday after the Los Angeles Police Department lifted an investigative hold that had blocked the report from public view for over four months.

The coroner’s investigation ruled Ford’s death a homicide by multiple gunshot wounds.

Ford, 25, was killed by LAPD officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, both on gang enforcement detail, shortly after 8 p.m. on Aug. 11 in the Florence neighborhood of South LA. The report provides the first detailed account from authorities of his injuries.

According to the autopsy report, Ford was shot three times, resulting in two fatal wounds and one nonfatal.” The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

LA cops shot unarmed man in the back

Wednesday 31st December 2014

‘Horrifying’ post-mortem report lays bare shooting of mentally ill 25-year-old Ezell Ford

Autopsy evidence released on Monday showed that unarmed black man Ezell Ford, who was killed by Los Angeles police, was shot three times, including once in the back at close range.

The August 11 death of Mr Ford is among a string of cases in the US this year in which black men have been killed by police officers in contentious and bitterly contested circumstances.

Evidence from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office showed Mr Ford had been shot once in the back, once in the arm and once in the abdomen.

The wound to his back left a “muzzle imprint” on his skin, suggesting he was shot at very close range.

Mr Ford’s family lawyer Steven Lerman decried the “horrifying” report.

“What they did to Mr Ford is nothing short of criminal,” said Mr Lerman.

Mr Ford, who was 25 and suffered from mental illness, was killed during a confrontation with patrol officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas.

At the time of the incident, Mr Ford was alone and unarmed.

The Los Angeles Police Department claimed officers Wampler and Villegas attempted to talk to Mr Ford, who walked away and was “attempting to conceal his hands.”

Police claimed: “Ford grabbed the officer’s handgun and attempted to remove the gun from its holster.”

But the Ford family and witnesses cited by local media flatly denied Mr Ford had been aggressive. The autopsy was only published after residents complained.

In recent months, demonstrators have taken to the streets across the US to protest at disproportionate police violence against unarmed African Americans, including the choking death of Eric Garner in New York and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Grand juries have declined to charge the officers involved.

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable president Earl Ofari Hutchinson called for district attorney Jackie Lacey to review the possibility of filing criminal charges against police in the Ford case.

Several Ford family members and supporters protested in Los Angeles on Monday night, demanding justice for him and for other African Americans who have died at the hands of police.

At Philosophy Football’s Why Black Matters seminar, Dave Zirin spoke to Kadeem Simmonds about the first athlete to protest at the recent killings in the US, a young female basketball player called Ariyana Smith: here.

Black Hollywood actress arrested as ‘prostitute’


This video from the USA is called Django Unchained Actress Danièle Watts on Natural Hair + Working with Kerry Washington.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute

Hollywood actress was mistaken for a prostitute by the LAPD after she was seen kissing her husband in the street

Zachary Davies Boren

Sunday 14 September 2014

Daniele Watts, an African-American actress who has starred in Hollywood films such as Django Unchained, has claimed she was “handcuffed and detained” by Los Angeles police officers after being mistaken for a prostitute.

Two police officers approached Watts and her white husband Brian James Lucas when they were seen showing affection in public, the actress said in a Facebook post.

She claims she refused to produce her photo ID when asked by police, and was then handcuffed and held in a police car as the officers tried to figure out who she was. She reportedly cut her wrist as she was handled roughly by the LAPD officers.

Watts also posted pictures to Facebook, in which she is handcuffed and crying. She was released shortly afterwards.

“As I was sitting in the back of the police car, I remembered the countless times my father came home frustrated or humiliated by the cops when he had done nothing wrong,” she wrote in the post.

“I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration for existing in a world where I have allowed myself to believe that “authority figures” could control my BEING… my ability to BE!!!!!!!

She continued: “Those cops could not stop me from expressing myself. They could not stop the cathartic tears and rage from flowing out of me. They could not force me to feel bad about myself. Yes, they had control over my physical body, but not my emotions.

Her husband, Brian James Lucas, a chef, supported her account of the events in a social media posting of his own. He wrote: “From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client).

“They handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was. In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!”

The incident comes weeks after California police officers detained an African American television producer who was travelling to a pre-Emmy Awards party. Charles Belk said he was unfairly treated because he “fitted a description”.

Ravens and hawks in the USA, new study


This video from the USA says about itself:

Raven’s nest with 6 eggs on window ledge of office building located in West Los Angeles.

From Wildlife Extra:

Raven populations rise in US as they turn man-made structures to their advantage

A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), US Geological Survey (USGS) and Idaho State University (ISU) has revealed how man-made structures affect the nesting of a variety of avian predators.

The study took place on the sagebrush landscapes of the US Department of Energy‘s Idaho site and surrounding areas in the state, locating nest sites for all four species over a three-year span.

Researchers compared common ravens, red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, and ferruginous hawks.

This video from the USA says about itself:

A family of wild Swainson’s Hawks (adults & juveniles) in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona encounter a lone coyote

The Wildlife Extra article continues:

Overall, the analysis showed that energy transmission towers and other artificial substrates (e.g. mobile phone towers, billboards and buildings) are overwhelmingly preferred by ravens as nesting sites, and are not at all favoured by any of the three hawk species.

“Raven populations have increased precipitously in the past four decades in sagebrush ecosystems, largely as a result of fragmentation and development of anthropogenic structures,” said ecologist and study lead author Peter Coates.

“Our study shows that in addition to habitat fragmentation, the addition of human-made structures benefit ravens, whereas some species of raptors like the ferruginous hawk have been impacted and limited in nesting areas.”

Why the difference in nest selection between ravens and large hawks? The answer may be linked to the availability of preferred prey.

“Ravens are opportunistic foragers, eating just about anything, including carrion,” said co-author and USGS ecologist Kristy Howe.

“In addition, they tend to be highly intelligent birds that adapt quickly to changing environments and have been shown to transmit learned behaviours from one generation to the next.

“Conversely, hawks tend to be strongly territorial, intolerant of human disturbance, and prefer prey like jackrabbits that occupy similar habitats.”

Ravens were classed as an uncommon breeder within this area as recently as 1986. They are now the most pervasive predatory species nesting in this area, accounting for 46 per cent of nests among the four.

Transmission towers are the tallest objects in the study area. Nesting on or near them may afford ravens myriad advantages, including a wider range of vision, greater attack speed, and greater security from predators, range fires, and heat stress.

While this is good news for ravens, it could be bad news for sensitive prey species, including the greater sage-grouse.

Howe speculates on the study’s other implications and directions for future research: “Since ravens are important predators of young birds and eggs, and hawks are predominantly predators of adults, these landscape changes could shift ecosystem dynamics.

“Predation risk would now likely be greater for sage-grouse eggs and young, and correspondingly lower for adult sage-grouse and other prey species.

“This adds new insights for ecosystem managers who seek to understand the complex relationships between ravens, hawks, sage-grouse populations, and habitat changes.”

“Industrial development, wildfires, invasive plant species, and other disturbances are changing sagebrush landscapes throughout the western United States,” concluded Peter Coates.

“Our results shed light on how these avian predators might change with them.”

George Harrison Beatle tree killed by beetles


This video from the USA says about itself:

L.A. Gently Weeps As George Harrison Tree Is Felled By Beetles

22 July 2014

A local official said on Tuesday that a tree planted in memorial to late Beatles guitarist George Harrison following his death in Los Angeles in 2001 has been killed by bark beetles amid California’s epic drought. The pine tree, which was dedicated with a plaque to Harrison at the head of a hiking trail in the city’s Griffith Park, was among a number of trees that have succumbed to the beetles this year. City Councilman, Tom LaBonge said he expects to see a new tree planted in remembrance of Harrison in the fall.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

George Harrison Memorial Tree killed … by beetles; replanting due

By Randy Lewis

July 21, 2014

In the truth is stranger than fiction department, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes Griffith Park, told Pop & Hiss over the weekend that the pine tree planted in 2004 near Griffith Observatory in memory of George Harrison will be replanted shortly because the original tree died as the result of an insect infestation.

Yes, the George Harrison Tree was killed by beetles.

Except for the loss of tree life, Harrison likely would have been amused at the irony. He once said his biggest break in life was getting into the Beatles; his second biggest was getting out.

The sapling went in, unobtrusively, near the observatory with a small plaque at the base to commemorate the former Beatle, who died in 2001, because he spent his final days in Los Angeles and because he was an avid gardener for much of his adult life.

Ravens back in Limburg province after 144 years


This video from the USA says about itself:

17 April 2009

Raven‘s nest with 6 eggs on window ledge of office building located in WLA [West Los Angeles].

From L1 regional TV in Limburg province, the Netherlands:

For the first time since 1870 a young raven has hatched in Limburg.

The birds nested in the National Park De Maasduinen. At least one youngster fledged early this month [June 2014].

Schinnen

It is for the first time in 144 years that a raven has nested in Limburg. The last time was in 1870 in Schinnen.

Last September at the estate Hamert Wellerlooi, part of Maasduinen, two ravens had been released. These birds had been caught illegally in the wild; they were seized from the poachers and temporarily housed in a bird rehabilitation center.

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