It was supposed to be a 60th birthday present to herself, but Rhonda King's dream of sharing her life with a family of chirping birds ended when USPS delivered a boxful of crushed canaries her hair salon in Alabama.
"When my postmaster got there he told me, 'Well, your birds arrived, but they're not alive,'" King told Al.com. "This happened right in front of my clients. I was handed this box with tire tracks on it and bird carnage hanging out."
King paid a seller in Texas $600 for eight birds and an additional $100 to have them shipped. The box was supposed to ship on Dec. 5, King's 60th birthday, and arrive the following day. But, three days later, the smashed package arrived, missing two of the birds.
USPS made good on their promise to fix the situation, however, replacing the canaries and erasing what the AP calls "the avian horror of the first delivery."
"They sound like small instruments of orchestra music," she said. "It's just beautiful, soft, harmonizing, orchestrated music."
On Thursday, like seven small mythical phoenixes who rose from the ashes, the new birds arrived in Grant.
"They're beautiful birds," King said a few hours after their arrival. "They're just picture perfect!"
"It's not going to replace the other birds, but they did the next best thing and I'm proud of them," King said of the Postal Service.
All in all, a good reminder of why you should never use the postal service to transport small children. Read the rest
If you happen to have a Pacific parrotlet who happens to be patient, and you happen to have a couple of spare feathers lying around, you might try this trick to turn it into a rabbit. Read the rest
Last month, more than 200 red-winged blackbirds dropped from the sky above Cumberland County in New Jersey. It's the second time in less than a month, and the third this year. From Philly.com:
"They just fell from the sky," said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection...
After county agricultural agents had been notified by homeowners, the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife arrived in Stow Creek and removed the birds, collecting some of them to be sent to a state lab for necropsy, toxicology, and histopathology tests.
But the results of all the tests were inconclusive, Hajna said last week.
"We did ascertain that the birds suffered trauma and internal bleeding from hitting the ground," Hajna said. "But what made them fall from the sky in the first place . . . we can't say for certain."
Even wheat seed from a nearby farmer's field was collected and tested for chemical compounds by the University of Pennsylvania... None of those compounds (found) is considered harmful to birds and none of the chemicals was found to be among those that are sometimes used by farmers to control "nuisance" species like blackbirds, Hajna said.
"Why are these birds falling from the sky in South Jersey?" (Philly.com)
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is not journalism, and the BBC is open about the various tricks and techniques it uses to create compelling stories from wildlife footage. So Pohjankonna Oy's video retiming these jumping birds isn't really a gotcha. But it sure is cool to see how the sausage is made. Read the rest
On Tuesday November 8, 2016, tens of millions of Americans enthusiastically cast their presidential ballots for a tax-cheating, racist demagogue who literally said anything to get the votes of common working stiffs, even though it should have been abundantly obvious to them that the promises were empty, the rhetoric insincere. A few months ago, I might have called such voters bird brains, but lately I’ve been reading Jennifer Ackerman’s wonderful new book, The Genius of Birds, so I now understand that such an epithet would be an insult to birds. Birds may not be smart enough enough to run a cynical and disingenuous presidential campaign, but birds would never be so stupid as to act so recklessly against their own self-interest.
In The Genius of Birds, Ackerman does not argue that birds are the intellectual equals of humans — that if only a robin could type, it, too, could produce a body of writing on par with the complete works of William Shakespeare. But Ackerman does give us enough examples of what can only be described as intelligence to cause us to reconsider many of our assumptions about whether human beings have a monopoly — or, in the case of the current election, even a grasp — on smarts.
We learn, for example, that “the world’s smartest bird” is a crow found on the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and that this crow can solve puzzles requiring as many as eight steps to execute and two separate tools — O.K., they’re sticks. Read the rest
I laboriously prepared the following accurate transcript of this video of an African Gray parrot.
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WOMAN: OK Google
WOMAN: Good job
Starlings in flight are always beautiful, but what's most remarkable about The Art of Flying, a film by Jan van IJken about a massive flock of starlings, is the sound. Read the rest
This remarkable demonstration of a pigeon, a falcon, and an owl flying past six extremely sensitive high-end microphones shows just how quiet owls are when they fly. Read the rest
We interrupt your growing anxiety at America's emergent cyberpunk dystopia for a tense missive from this guy's house. In this video, a pigeon bears down a chimney in Romford or maybe Cheltenham or somewhere like that. The perspective on the video makes it hard to tell (especially when things get hairy) but the pigeon is well-armored and only seconds from putting the defender in serious trouble. Wings flap menacingly; a feather sails past the lens. It is not long before he is quite alarmed at the bird's progress. What happens next, though, will probably not surprise you. Read the rest
From YouTube description:
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Sue's pet emu, Emee, was a lone hatch and has a purpose built pen at the end of the room for when her owner isn't home. The rest of the time though, she is treated as one of the family! This video shows her and a very welcoming pet dog named Molly playing together.
According to this bird's human companion, Monty has not played with this complicated puzzle in over a year. He seems to know what he's doing. I'm impressed at how well he removed the nut from the bolt. Read the rest
Design student Sugko at Sejong University used a CymaScope to visualize bird songs, with beautiful results. Read the rest
We know that pigeons are capable of becoming crafty drug smugglers or connoisseurs of fine art, but now we know they can kind of tell when we're making up words.
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47 grackles fell from the heavens on the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston this weekend, with at least 32 dead. Two cats who ate the remains also ran out of lives.
City officials have sent the dead grackles, which are a type of songbird that travels in flocks, to Tufts University to help determine the cause of death. It is currently unclear whether the birds perished due to a virus, some sort of environmental pollution or intentional poisoning. Test results are expected next week.
“We don’t know what is going on,” John Meaney of the city of Boston’s Inspectional Services told NECN. “So we are investigating all avenues.”
Local resident Willien Pugh told the Boston Herald that his cat Sally B was found dying on the back porch as deceased birds fell from the sky.
“We took the cat from outside and we thought it was a girl so we named it Sally – then when we took it to the vet, we found out it was a boy, so we started calling her Sally B,” Pugh said. “Real good cat.”
47 Grackles is my new mid-2000s-style productivity blog-cum-punk band. [Photo: MDF] Read the rest
Are they happy, mad, or experiencing an emotion that's utterly alien to us? Read the rest
Krystle Missildine paints delicate animal portraits on feathers, like this robin on a macaw feather.
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The secretary bird looks and moves like I'd imagine a dinosaur looked and moved. Here is one giving a rubber snake the business.
From Reuters: "Scientists are studying the snake-hunting ability of the secretary bird from sub-Saharan Africa, which can kick a snake to death with a force five times its own body weight." Read the rest