Topic: Rooks and fables  (Read 7878 times)

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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2009, 02:26:15 pm »
For instance an average Hawk processes images, from the eye, at over 25 frames per second. By comparison, we process at 4 per second. A Hawk can see the flicker in a TV screen or cinema projection, a Human sees no such flicker.

Some humans. I can see 60 Hz no problem, for me noticeable flicker fades out at about 85 Hz. 25-30Hz? Horrifying.

Quote
The avian brain doesn't have to deal with a sense of smell.... birds can't smell at all.

This does free up a lot of brain runtime for visual processing.... birds have a far superiour and faster image processing rate than humans and other mammals.

Wow, birds can't smell? The olfactory center is tied to the "reptilian" (limbic(?)) brain no?

Fast visual processing no doubt, I was thinking that very thing the other day as I watched a sparrow pluck a moth out of the air with blinding speed.  Must see about 3x as fast as I do.. though I would not be surprised if bird vision is optimised for the task as with other predators. Reducing the "bandwidth" should make it easier to process. In analogy to the auditory processing of bats.

Being omnivores scavengers and generally freaks of nature humans seem to have a very generalised broadband vision system that requires commensurate processing time.

For predators like birds I imagine that visual processing places the emphasis on edge detection and movement. Some of this visual optimisation has been demonstrated to occur at the cellular level in the retina itself. I recall reading this stuff in a story on modelling the retina in silicon.

I still find it surprising that birds do not smell (use their olfactory equipment). I assume you are familiar with Ernst Haeckel's Biogenetic Law: "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". While refuted (as expressed by Haeckel) by most modern biologists, there is unquestionably something to it. What do you think?

I love your stories about Blackie. :thumbsup:

Offline Corbomite

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2009, 04:08:10 pm »
Birds have olfactory nerves and some species smell quite well. Turkey Vultures, for instance, can find food from miles away that they can't see. Funny thing is, their close cousins, Black Vultures and the California Condor (carrion eaters as well) can't smell well at all and depend on sight. They even follow Turkey Vultures to food sometimes because they know that the Turkey Vultures can smell it.

Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2009, 12:22:44 pm »
Birds don't have long nasal pasages needed for smell, instead having basiclly beak mounted air intakes to maximise Oxygen intake for muscle power in flight.

I've discovered that Blackie does have a pronounced sense of taste and can discern his favorite food stuffs from amongst food stuffs he's OK with and stuff he really hates such as Carrots.

If all his food is mixed up he will taste test around his bowl until he knows what he has before him and then pick out his favorites. In some instances he will pick out and place secondary favorite food items into his water bowl and eat his primary favorite items first as he goes. He will also prepare and mix up favorite food items in one place and eat them in a set order.

Remeber that Blackie is virtually blind.

One of his rare treats is a Bourbon biscuit. He will pull it apart, carefully spend half an hour breaking off and eating the biscuit parts before finishing off the centre filling last.

Crows willalways try to wash their food before eating so water has to always be provided. If Blackie has no water in his water bowl he will make a big point about this to whoever is feeding him, usually by standing with food in his beak in the empty bowl to emphasise the point that it is empty.

Crows and Ravens are rated as the second most intelligent creatures on the planet, next to Humans, with an average IQ of 100 (george Bush scored 81 in his National Guard IQ test!!). 

Crows are the only other creature, apart from Humans, who will fabricate a tool for a specific job. They will bend wire into hooks, cut barbs into twigs to fish for termites, etc.

They will also study a problem before tackling it.

One interesting point is that if I click the breach of a rifle even from across the garden, he will immediately duck and cover. Perhaps an inbred instictive response.

Blackie has aquired an understudy in the form of a juvenile wild Crow (1 year old) who is extremely interested in how Blackie relates to Humans, or rather, has control over Humans so that they feed, preen, shelter and communicate with him.

This young Crow even lands and wanders over to withing 3 feet of me so long as Blackie is either on my hand or at my feet.

He's still a bit jumpy but is slowly realising that he's OK and will probally end up as confident as Blackie's wild Wood Pidgeon "Minder", who wades in and fights with any Magpies, Crows, etc. that pick on Blackie. They've been friends for 4 years now.

Generally, all the wild animal that seems to think that they should be treated as occasional pets are refered to as "Domestic Wildlife". Some think it is OK to attempt to venture into the house from time to time as with the Fox Vixen we had for 3 years many years ago. She'd had enough of being wild and decided that life living with Humans like a Dog was better. Access to Chocolate may have also been a reason too.

One of the most unusual roles in my life was to unexpectantly have to baby sit wild Fox cubs whilst their mother lounged around in a neighbour's garden for a few hours. Anyone familiar with puppies will know that they will investigate, chew , pee and end up in all kinds of trouble and Fox cubs, being a branch of the Canine tree, behave just the same way.

The Vixen wasn't a pet, she just lived with us and treated us as being part of her pack. At night she would go out and sit on the front lawn keeping picket. In the evenings she would go for walks with my father, leading the way (I have pictures) and during the day she would lounge around the house or garden.

Foxes communicate using posture and body language. For instance sitting down a distance from a stranger, yawning and showing fiened disinterest by staring off at right angles to another creature, at some inmaginary point of interest is a Fox's way of making friendly overtures. The sitting is to demonstrate thate it is not frightened, the yawn is to display an ability to defend itself and the fiened disinterest is to show that it is not planning any hostile moves.

Mimicing the same actions and staring in the same direction at the same general direction of the imaginary point of interest will have the Fox wander over and sit down and sit down very close and then both parties will continue to stare at theimaginary point of interest for a while until the Fox is assured that it is safe. After that the Fox will be friendly and trusting.

I've done it with other wild Foxes and they respond in the same way, are intrigued and move closer. I've had one sniff my hand on one occasion.

I've always been able to tame wild animals within a few minutes, they just seem to like me for some reason.

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Offline knightstorm

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2009, 12:53:37 pm »
(george Bush scored 81 in his National Guard IQ test!!). 




Please don't clutter the forum with partisan junk e-mails

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/politics/campaign/24points.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&position=
Quote
October 24, 2004
POLITICAL POINTS
Secret Weapon for Bush?
By JOHN TIERNEY

To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.

That, at least, is the conclusion of Steve Sailer, a conservative columnist at the Web magazine Vdare.com and a veteran student of presidential I.Q.'s. During the last presidential campaign Mr. Sailer estimated from Mr. Bush's SAT score (1206) that his I.Q. was in the mid-120's, about 10 points lower than Al Gore's.

Mr. Kerry's SAT score is not known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison of the intelligence tests in the candidates' military records. They are not formal I.Q. tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar enough to make reasonable extrapolations.

Mr. Bush's score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test.

Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said.

Many Americans still believe a report that began circulating on the Internet three years ago, and was quoted in "Doonesbury," that Mr. Bush's I.Q. was 91, the lowest of any modern American president. But that report from the non-existent Lovenstein Institute turned out to be a hoax.

You might expect Kerry campaign officials, who have worried that their candidate's intellectual image turns off voters, to quickly rush out a commercial trumpeting these new results, but for some reason they seem to be resisting the temptation.

Upon hearing of their candidate's score, Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the senator, said merely: "The true test is not where you start out in life, but what you do with those God-given talents. John Kerry's 40 years of public service puts him in the top percentile on that measure."

« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 04:19:21 pm by knightstorm »

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2009, 02:23:41 pm »
Um, whatever, back to crows...

I was telling my Grandmother about Blackie and she told me the following story:

"Have you ever heard of a Parliament of crows?", was how she began relating the tale. She described a friend of hers had been watching crows gather in a few of the tall elms on her street. Once several hundred had arrived, one bird was singled out on the ground while the others remained in the trees. It did not flee. One of the birds left the elm and dove on the one crow singled out on the ground and struck it. Then, en masse, they all dove on it and pecked it to death. Then they all just left once it was dead. An execution? An infection? I have to wonder why. It was an interesting story.

Crows have been known to mass in the (tens of) thousands in this region. The resulting cacophony can be quite a disturbance to nearby residents.
http://www.trurodaily.com/index.cfm?sid=228013&sc=518
...interesting, I had not realised they stopped coming. I wonder if there is any meaning to the change? Where are they convening now?

edit: ah, this makes sense, massing prior to migration:
https://listserv.unb.ca/cgi-bin/wa?A2=naturenb;y6Ok9A;199709301956430300e
But wait, I see them here in winter too.  :huh:

another interesting story about crows in NS:
http://www.mysticraven.net/lilys_pad/pages/News/halifax_crows.html
Interesting, that tale mentions they fear great owls. I only ever saw live wild great owls once, pair of them. Got to within about 30 feet before they got ancy. According to native lore it is a good omen to see an owl. It was.

I suspect why they were massing in the Annapolis Valley might be related to the previously common practice for the poultry famers to throw their dead chickens out in the feilds to draw bald eagles for the tourists. Often hundreds (dozens) of bald eagles would mass in the area as well. I know from up close experience that crows and bald eagles in particular seem to have considerably animosity between them. The crows will relentlessly harass them, but will not attack.

I also have a very close relationship with animals and can often approach wild animals quite closely. Could pretty much snatch a grouse from a tree or approach deer to within 10 feet without any food offerings - they are most skittish. They tend to be drawn to me though, usually in family groups of five. I would have been a charm in a Mi'kmaq tribe. Perhaps I was. It is almost all body language, but the eye as a window to the soul is as true for animals as for man as far as I am concerned. Though eye contact must be used very judiciously with some animals, it can be percieved as a threat.

I think it is a question of being very observant, but there is something more to it. A certain je ne sais quoi.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 02:45:44 pm by Bonk »

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2009, 02:50:55 pm »
Quote
Facts About Crows

    * Crows are found on every continent except Antarctica.
    * Crows have an exceptional ability to remember and pick a single human face out of a crowd.
    * Crows are far more likely to be found living close to cities and suburbs than out in the country.
    * Each generation of crows is capable of building on an earlier generation's knowledge.
    * New Caledonian crows are one of only three species, besides human, in the world capable of making tools.
    * Crows live with a mated pair, their kids, and offspring from previous years in an extended family.
    * Crows have different warning calls - one for cats, and one for hawks, and another for humans - 250 in all.
    * Crows are omnivores and eat fruits, vegetables and meat.


http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2009/murderofcrows/director.html

I'm looking for film of the huge numbers that used to mass in the valley...

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2009/04/15/ravens.html  :o  I never was sure about those flatland folks. Kill a raven?

Another pet crow story:
http://birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/ralph__an_unforgettable_pet_crow

still no sign of the video of the mass murder of crows in the valley...  :(
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 03:07:16 pm by Bonk »

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2009, 03:26:40 pm »
Still haven't found it, but I did find this very cool story:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPGknpq3e0[/youtube]

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2009, 07:56:02 pm »
:police: Keep the political stuff in Hot and Spicy :police:

Computer things, Science and Technology here.

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Offline knightstorm

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #48 on: September 23, 2009, 02:17:51 pm »
Quoth the raven, Never more

Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #49 on: October 04, 2009, 10:15:55 am »
It seems that Blackie may have attracted a friend in the form of a young Crow. Juveniles spend a year with their parents or other relatives learning Crow business and other things before being expected to find food for themselves.

The Juvanile in question is becoming quite tame and will wander over to within 6 feet of me so long as Blackie is next to me and is intrigued to discover how Blackie has managed to have Humans feed, preen and look after him.

Blackie doesn't seem to mind the other Crow and they've even ate ffod from Blackie's food bowl next to the backdoor at the same time head to head. Normally Blackie is extremely teritorial and will bellow, threaten and chase off the majority of Crows he realises are stealing his food or in his garden.

He does tollerate some Crows though and we suspect are his immediate relatives and parents. Crows have similar family structures to Humans and it is not uncommon for older siblings and close relations to raise orphaned Crow chicks, hence why they will quickly bond with any Humans that take them in.

We kind of suspect that the young Crow is female as it doesn't mind being in touching contact with Blackie and he doesn't mind this happening.

It isn't around every day, just in the mornings though sometimes it will appear during the day and wonder over and take interest in what I'm doing if I'm working on a motorcycle or doing something in the garden. It seems to want to be friendly and is trying to figure out how Blackie is able to communicate so profitably with Humans, etc.

As for Crow parliments, we have had one only a few days ago in the trees nearby. However, it seemed to be more of a family or clan gathering with all the Crows, including Blackie yelling out, "Here I am!!" and other territorial calls for about an hour. It was probally a show of numbers to ward off some invading group.

Scientists have figured out that Crows use complex inflections in their various calls  to convey information and listening to Blackie holding an apparent conversation with some distant Crow in the woods or field nearby. If you listen to a series of Crow "Caws" you'll notice that the endings varies between each one, which is where scientists have determined conveys the message.

It is more akin to a computer data packet. So far one study group has discovered that there is a distinct difference between the general warning call for a Human approaching and a Human carrying a gun approaching. It is a totally different system to how we talk.

It'll probally take a compuer to figure out how it works.

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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2010, 03:34:40 am »
Look what I found today:
http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/The_Nature_of_Things/ID=1385855962
Quote
A Murder of Crows
A rare and intimate glimpse into the inner life of one of the most intelligent, playful and mischievous species on the planet.

 8)

The intro talked about human facial recognition in crows and as a teaser mentioned what is interesting is what they do with it! Must watch to find out!  ;D

14:57 - wow!

edit: I'm not sure I like the newer show format. David used to be on camera in the show and involved (more Discovery's style now). Now it kinda feels like any old science show with David Suzuki doing the voice over.  :-\
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 04:29:58 am by Bonk »

Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2010, 09:49:56 am »
Cool Bonk! I'll give this a look see here this afternoon.

Stephen
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