Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Multi-lingual Red-breasted Nuthatch, Chickadees, Antelopes, Rob Schmunk Hits a Raptor Bonanza and Guys in Trees

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Courtesy of

From long time contributor Robin of Illinois--

Last week my Red Bellied Woodpecker pair showed up for the winter, and this
week, my White Breasted Nuthatch pair arrived as well. (I usually have both
red breasted and white bellied nuthatches during the winters.)

I wanted to get more information on Nuthatches and checked Wikipedia and
found this interesting bit of information:

"The Red-breasted Nuthatch, which coexists with the Black-capped Chickadee throughout much of its range, is able to understand the latter species' calls. The chickadee has subtle call variations that communicate information about the size and risk of potential predators. Many birds recognize the simple alarm calls produced by other species, but the Red-breasted Nuthatch is able to interpret the chickadees' detailed variations and to respond appropriately."

Alright! Nuthatch are multi-lingual. Now many birds and animals react to the basic Chickadee alarm call but as Chickadees have been known to fake alarms by making alarm calls when no danger exists to run other species off feeders ( who knows it might be a popular Chickadee joke) and as fellow Chickadees know the subtle difference, it would appear likely that the Red-breasted Nuthatch who is also into the subtleties of Chickadee speak wouldn't be fooled either.

See what happens when one species lives around another species all the time. They begin to understand each other.

There's a concept.

A point to think about, that.

Which brought to my mind that when an individual of one species lives around another individual of another species all the time, such as the two above and my cats and my parrot, (Our motto being from Stuart Little-No eating of family members) what might be thought to be unnatural behavior can occur and become "natural behavior" at least for those individuals.

The back story on the owl and the kitten--From Robin of Illinois

It all started when a litter of stray kittens were given to the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Hampshire. (“Fascinating” spot to drop off kittens don’t you think? D.B) This kitten became fast friends with Nigel, a white-faced scopes owl. Just goes to show: "Friendship" knows no bounds when it comes to species.

Which further reminds me of a extremely tattered book of Albert Schweitzer writings which appeared in the give away pile of books in my apartment building lobby a few days ago--The Animal World of Albert Schweitzer- translated by Charles R. Joy, copyright 1950, published by The Beacon Press--with a dedication that reads, To Monsieur Le Pelican, faithful guardian of Albert Schweitzer.

Remember Albert Schweitzer? The German physician who lived and worked in Africa? Beyond being a doctor he was a theologian, naturalist, and philosopher to name a few. Oh and we can't forget a musician who played the organ and almost single handedly brought J.S. Bach back to the fore of classical music.
And as it turns out an animal lover and rehabilitator.

Obviously all the Africans with Malaria and parasites and Dengue Fever didn't keep him quite busy enough. (Jeez) He was also very concerned that the Western World had very little in the way of a standard of ethics when it came to animals, we very badly needed one, and he wrote about it a lot.

Nothing was ever killed at the hospital...okay, the parasites got nixed but he still found it a bit worrisome.

What is it now, the end of 2010? And we've still got a ways to go when it comes to getting many people to "get it" about animals. Like ahhhh....being a nuisance does not rate death, for instance?

At any rate, Monsieur Le Pelican of the dedication hung out on the front porch and was a very scary version of a large hugely beaked guard dog who would not let you pass if he didn't believe you should enter the house, be you a snake, an assassin or cosseted reporter from The Times.

Owls roosted under the roof of the veranda and inside the house rehabilitating Antelopes cavorted in the doctor's rooms among other animals some of them carnivores plus Dr. Schweitzer's Dog and his nurse's African Grey parrots had reserved seats at the dinner table.

And nobody got to kill each other.

I suspect that the mice and other rodents were on their own when it came to the raptors. Unless of course you were a rodent being rehabilitated,i.e. an individual then you came under the heading of family member and we all know what that means.

See, it can be done with individuals of different species. We all just have to be habituated to each other.

Which brings us to the brothers in the trees of Central Park, sent in by W.A. Walters dedicated gleaner of the NYTimes, who aren't hurting anyone nor are they hurting the trees--

Finding a Bed Among Central Park’s Trees

There is no shortage of places in Manhattan where visitors can spend the night. Luxury hotels offer lavish suites that can run thousands of dollars, and youth hostels have beds for as little as $20. At least one flophouse survives on the Bowery. And, of course, there is couch-surfing — countless travelers bunk with old friends or near-strangers for little more than an owed favor….

(You may have to copy and paste this guy above as so far it won't turn into a link for me.)