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kladner 2019-05-15 02:22

Extinct bird resurrected as evolution starts over again
 
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[URL]https://newatlas.com/extinct-bird-reappears-iterative-evolution/59639/[/URL]
[QUOTE]Evolution is an amazing process, helping life adapt to new environments and conditions – and now scientists have uncovered a rare occasion where it got a second chance. About 136,000 years ago, a flightless bird on an island in the Indian Ocean was wiped out, only to re-evolve itself back into existence tens of thousands of years later.[/QUOTE]

kladner 2019-05-15 02:42

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[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;515930]Yesterday, I saw an Indigo Bunting for the first time...... [/QUOTE]
Buntings are amazing as a group. I have seen the Indigo. The one I would love to see is the Painted.
[URL]https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/206/overview/Painted_Bunting.aspx[/URL]
[QUOTE]A group of painted buntings are collectively known as a "mural" and a "palette" of buntings.[/QUOTE]

[URL]https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/203/overview/Indigo_Bunting.aspx[/URL]

[QUOTE]Indigo Buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear many shades from turquoise to black[/QUOTE]
Whatbird.com is a really useful site.

Dr Sardonicus 2019-05-17 13:27

[QUOTE=kladner;516780]Buntings are amazing as a group. I have seen the Indigo. The one I would love to see is the Painted.
[URL]https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/206/overview/Painted_Bunting.aspx[/URL]


[URL]https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/203/overview/Indigo_Bunting.aspx[/URL]


Whatbird.com is a really useful site.[/QUOTE]Looks like you'll have to head south to see the painted bunting. Looks like an exotic tropical bird!

Diffraction structures are also common on the scales of butterfly wings. The brilliant blue of morphos -- that isn't pigment!

The gaudiest bird I've seen in the lower 48 is the Western Tanager. The males are the gaudy ones.

This brings to mind another bird I saw once, in May 1977. I had never seen a bird that looked like it. I told my dad about it, since I knew he had once been very interested in birds. I said, "I don't know what kind of a bird it was. The only way I can describe it is, a [i]black-winged red bird!"[/i] He knew at once what it was -- a Scarlet Tanager. What he did [i]not[/i] tell me was something I learned years after he was gone, and I was looking through his old copy of [u]Birds of America[/u], which mom had kept. In the margin at the entry for the Scarlet Tanager, he had written in pencil when he had seen one near home as a child.

kladner 2019-05-17 21:14

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;517008]Looks like you'll have to head south to see the painted bunting. Looks like an exotic tropical bird!

Diffraction structures are also common on the scales of butterfly wings. The brilliant blue of morphos -- that isn't pigment!

The gaudiest bird I've seen in the lower 48 is the Western Tanager. The males are the gaudy ones.

This brings to mind another bird I saw once, in May 1977. I had never seen a bird that looked like it. I told my dad about it, since I knew he had once been very interested in birds. I said, "I don't know what kind of a bird it was. The only way I can describe it is, a [I]black-winged red bird!"[/I] He knew at once what it was -- a Scarlet Tanager. What he did [I]not[/I] tell me was something I learned years after he was gone, and I was looking through his old copy of [U]Birds of America[/U], which mom had kept. In the margin at the entry for the Scarlet Tanager, he had written in pencil when he had seen one near home as a child.[/QUOTE]
Painted Buntings figure in my family lore. My dad was an avid birdwatcher. In the early 50's, Humble Oil, his employer, transferred him to an exploration crew on the King Ranch in West Texas. Hence, I was born in Kingsville, which is named for Captain King, of the King Ranch.

In the yard in Kingsville, Painted Buntings nested. The nest was parasitized by a Brown Headed Cowbird. This means that the Bunting eggs or hatchlings get pushed out by the larger Cowbird chick. My dad absolutely loved the Buntings and was enraged by the Cowbird, at which he threw rocks. This would have been an astonishing aberration from his usual very gentle nature, especially directed at a bird. Seeing the Buntings struggling to feed a large chick drove him over the edge. (This all hearsay. I was an infant at the time.)

The notes on Painted Buntings at Whatbird.com mention nest parasitism as one cause of decreasing populations.

We saw Scarlet Tanagers as migratory visitors in Houston. On vacation trips to the West, we were blown away by the Western Tanagers. Many birds of this sort have showy males, and greenish plain females. Perhaps it helps camouflage them on the nest.

kladner 2019-05-24 04:47

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I have been working on recordings I made of birds on our trip to downstate Illinois. Some birds were clearly captured, but the recordings had steady substantial low to low-mid range noise. I am processing the files in Audacity, a marvelous free sound recording and editing program. Audacity has an impressively large menu of effects. When I started to take on the noise floor, I was thinking in terms of high-pass filtering. I messed with this filter for a while before I realized there is a Noise Reduction filter. It has you select a second or two that is as near to just the noise. It then produces a noise profile. There are controls for db cut, sensitivity, and a smoothing function I don't entirely understand.


In any case, a particularly good recording with a lot of steady noise had plenty of non-bird passages where the noise could be sampled. I ended up with a much cleaner track. I took a short clip with noise for comparison. Out pure perversity I am going to remove the name of the bird. :razz: It is unmistakable if you know the bird, and this singer was an outstanding specimen. I also have a couple of really good wren tracks, though one is mixed with another bird. The examples I offer have been processed in varying degrees. In the case of the wrens, there was some loud handling noise. Audacity allows you to zoom in on the wave forms a lot. This let me go in and do some crude surgery to slice out just the parts with the worst noise bursts. This made the files fairly short.


EDIT: [STRIKE]Here is the link to the Audacity help page for the Noise Reduction filter.[/STRIKE] It turned out to be a resident html file, so I copied it to a Word doc. This was found to be an invalid file, so it went into a zip, too. One cool function is the choice between "reduce" and "residue," which is the inverse of reduce. This lets you hear how much of your desired signal is getting filtered. I found the whole explanation really interesting.

I had to really struggle to get these up. The forum found my mp3s invalid which explains the zip files. On the longest track I also had to reduce the kilobits per second by half to get the size under the forum limit.

Nick 2019-05-24 07:33

Nice audio!

At this time of year on the cycle tracks through the Dutch fields, we regularly get buzzed by the [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-tailed_godwit"]Black-tailed godwit[/URL] (in Dutch called simply the "grutto") defending its nesting area.
The local swans are nesting too but they just ignore us!

kladner 2019-05-24 13:21

[QUOTE=Nick;517609]Nice audio!

At this time of year on the cycle tracks through the Dutch fields, we regularly get buzzed by the [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-tailed_godwit"]Black-tailed godwit[/URL] (in Dutch called simply the "grutto") defending its nesting area.
The local swans are nesting too but they just ignore us![/QUOTE]
Thanks!
Many birds will go after perceived intruders, even if said intruders don't they are intruding. Blue Jays nested in a large holly bush, maybe 7 feet tall, by my parents' house. I found out when I was setting out a sprinkler on the lawn and went to turn on the faucet by the bush. Unseen, one of the birds flew out and batted me on the head with its wings. Quite startling.


Once, in the Chicago lakefront park near us, we were out on a sunny day. By the bike/jogging path was a tree, in which Red Wing Blackbirds were nesting. Walkers and joggers going past were seen ducking and covering their heads when the birds attacked. There was a guy with a young dog out on the big lawn, away from the tree; and he was throwing a ball for the dog to retrieve. Once, the ball landed near the tree, the dog went after it and got it under fire from the birds. The guy found this amusing, and deliberately threw the ball there again. The dog just sat down and looked out him, not about to go there again. The guy had to brave the birds himself to get the ball back.

Dr Sardonicus 2019-09-16 01:02

The hummingbirds are [i]starting[/i] to go into "it's getting late in the season" mode. My feeder has three stations, and I'm starting to see [i]two[/i] hummers feeding simultaneously in late afternoon. In summer, this does not happen. Whichever hummer is at the station will challenge all comers.

Still, as sunset approaches, the hummers will revert to challenging all comers. I've even see one sit at the feeder, constantly looking around, and finally take off without having fed.

I have also seen one feeding, then looking up at another that zooms by chittering, resuming feeding, and continuing to feed as two [i]other[/i] hummers fight each other over the right to land at the feeder, then (literally) buzz off.

I have seen up to six hummingbirds swarming around my feeder, sometimes none of them getting to feed. They always spread their tail feathers as a challenge. Sometimes one swoops in to drive another one off. If I'm near enough, I can hear them making contact. Other times, a hummer at the feeder will turn to face an intruder, and the two will face off, rising vertically, "dancing beak to beak."

When it starts getting really cool near sunset before they head south, I expect to see all three stations at my feeder occupied simultaneously.

kladner 2019-09-16 04:42

Getting that long tongue into a feeder even once is a win. I saw a female Ruby Throated take up station in my folks back yard, on TV antenna guy wires, with her fledged offspring. She dominated 3 feeders. Females are larger, so impact may be among their tactics.They are very aggressive intra-gender with males competing at feeders.

Nearby humans mean nothing to hummers, except when humans very occasionally, on the hummingbird time scale, change location. When the large, slow-moving blobs are not where they were previously mapped, sudden course adjustments may be needed.:smile:

Dr Sardonicus 2019-09-16 12:45

[QUOTE=kladner;525896]Getting that long tongue into a feeder even once is a win. I saw a female Ruby Throated take up station in my folks back yard, on TV antenna guy wires, with her fledged offspring. She dominated 3 feeders. Females are larger, so impact may be among their tactics.They are very aggressive intra-gender with males competing at feeders.

Nearby humans mean nothing to hummers, except when humans very occasionally, on the hummingbird time scale, change location. When the large, slow-moving blobs are not where they were previously mapped, sudden course adjustments may be needed.:smile:[/QUOTE]
Yes, I've seen many "battle of the sexes" aerial fights. The size difference is quite obvious. I have also seen -- and heard -- impact with equal-sized combatants.

I've also noticed that, while they will fearlessly attack other hummingbirds, larger birds and, amusingly, even butterflies that happen to come too close, they will give a wide berth to any bee or wasp that happens to be trying to use the feeder.

Although they may not recognize the importance of us humans [i]directly[/i] -- and certainly don't perceive us as a threat -- they [i]do[/i] recognize the location, importance and state of the [i]feeders[/i] we provide.

If it's empty, or dirty, or the nectar or feeding stations are getting foul, a hummingbird will fly up to the feeder, give it the once-over, and zoom off. You can practically hear it saying "blecch!" Or, if the feeder isn't there (sometimes they show up earlier in Spring than expected, or the feeder is being cleaned and refilled), they'll show up, come to where they expect to find the feeder, and practically tap their feet in midair to say, "Hey! Where's my food?" Their ability to remember the locations of feeders over the winter is quite impressive.

If it's cool outside, I've had hummers buzzing around the feeder -- and me -- as I'm bringing it out to hang it up.

Even more impressive IMO than their ability to map the locations of food sources, is their having figured out that building their nests near hawk nests offers a degree of protection against nest robbers like jays and squirrels.

kladner 2019-09-16 17:35

[QUOTE]Even more impressive IMO than their ability to map the locations of food sources, is their having figured out that building their nests near hawk nests offers a degree of protection against nest robbers like jays and squirrels. [/QUOTE]
Wow! That I did not know. I suppose they would not be worth a hawk's effort, and so would be safer.


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