TIL two things:
1. YouTube is home to the world's only heavy metal-themed talk show. It's called Two Minutes to Late Night.
2. Vocalists of all metal subgenres often shriek and squawk like birds. To prove it, the Two Minutes to Late Night host recently asked ornithologist Tom Stephenson of BirdGenie (an app that identifies birds by their sounds), "What Birds Do Metal Singers Sound Like?" He had no problem matching birds to their metal equivalent.
For instance, the (most-non-metal) bird expert (ever) identified the Northern Potoo as a close match to the screeching vocals of Converge's 2001 metalcore song "Concubine." Ok, sure.
Everything is kind of terrible right now. Do yourself a solid by spending a few minutes watching this fine fellow feed a flock of finches. Read the rest
Consider the above Exhibit A. Below, Exhibit B.
Late last month, a woman in Alabaster, Alabama spotted an unusual bird in her backyard feeder, which was soon revealed to be an extremely rare yellow-pigmented Northern cardinal.
Auburn University biology professor Geoffrey Hill said the cardinal in the photos is an adult male in the same species as the common red cardinal, but carries a genetic mutation that causes what would normally be brilliant red feathers to be bright yellow instead.
Alabaster resident Charlie Stephenson first noticed the unusual bird at her backyard feeder in late January and posted about it on Facebook. She said she's been birding for decades but it took her some time to figure out what she was seeing.
"I thought 'well there's a bird I've never seen before'," Stephenson said. "Then I realized it was a cardinal, and it was a yellow cardinal."
... Hill -- who has literally written books on bird coloration -- said the mutation is rare enough that even he, as a bird curator and researcher has never seen one in person.
"There are probably a million bird feeding stations in that area so very very roughly, yellow cardinals are a one in a million mutation."
However, an expert at the National Audubon Society has a different theory on why the bird's plumage is yellow:
As Geoff LeBaron, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count director, points out, the cardinal’s crest and wing feathers look frayed in photos. While wear and tear is a natural part of a bird’s life, it can be exacerbated by a poor diet or environmental stressors.Read the rest
United Airlines barred Dexter, an emotional support peacock, from boarding a flight at Newark International Airport on Saturday. From the Washington Post:
United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”
“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” an airline spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday to The Washington Post...
The peacock’s owner, who was identified by the Associated Press as Ventiko, a photographer and performance artist in New York, told the news agency that she bought the bird its own ticket.
Britain's largest supermarket chain has refunded customers who said the Tesco turkeys tasted like they were soaked in bleach or were rotten.
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Thanks @Tesco for selling me a gone off turkey & wrecking my 1st xmas day cooked at my home! £250 wasted, an awful meal and 8sick people!— Kirsten Shore (@Kirsten_Shore) December 26, 2017
Among them was events manager Kirsten Shore, from Stafford. The 29-year-old was hosting eight guests alongside husband Dan. Her mother had bought and prepared the turkey which was kept in the fridge until it was cooked. She said it wrecked the meal, which had cost £250, and made guests sick. She took to Twitter to contact Tesco. Image caption Events manger Kirsten was one of a number of people to take to Twitter to complain about Tesco turkeys
She said: "I took a mouthful of turkey and spat it out. It tasted of bleach and everyone else realised the reason everything was a bit funny was because the gravy was made from the giblets.
As a youngster in England, my mental image of the roadrunner (Geococcyx Californianus) was just as the cartoon roadrunner (Accellerati Incredibilis) depicted. Almost as large as a coyote. An enormous blue bird of a size and weight approaching that of an emu, or ostrich. After moving to New Mexico, then, there came the inevitable moment of wonder and correction, when I first saw a wee bird sprinting along, and it dawned on me that I beheld the true form of the roadrunner.
But my dream of seeing a huge flightless bird fleeing from a knife-and-fork-weilding wolf in a napkin was not dead, and is now 50% completed thanks to this clip from Brazil.
At contests in Southeast Asia, bird trainers compete to see whose bird is the best singer. From Clive Bell's article in The Wire:
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My colleague, accordionist Mike Adcock, chanced upon one this year in a market in Cianjur, West Java. A dozen cages were suspended high up, while below men with clipboards assessed the singing. In central Jakarta contests can attract hundreds of entrants, passionate bird trainers arriving along with their white-rumped shamas, green bulbuls or hill blue flycatchers. On one level it’s a (largely male) social occasion, on another there’s a lot of prize money at stake. A ten minute video from Phuket in Thailand shows the competitors desperately encouraging their birds from the sidelines, bending the rules by gesturing, whistling or blowing kisses. A bird with potential may be worth as much as a Toyota Fortuner. In fact a belief that it’s unlucky to put a price on a bird means they are more likely to be bartered for goods such as cars. The judges, some of whom are women, are assessing melody, rhythm and volume. One contest in Phuket demands that birds sing eight specific pitches within a defined time period...
Many of us probably feel that natural birdsong, encountered in the wild, is a particularly beautiful form of sound, and needs protecting, rather than improving via human intervention. But there are plenty who believe, for both financial and aesthetic reasons, that birds could do better, and that thorough education can raise a bird to greater heights of achievement.
“Yes, human, I knocked over your cup. What are you gonna do about it? Nothing." Read the rest