Monday, October 07, 2013

A Miscellany On the Home Front- Hummingbirds in hyperhphagia, Hormonal Quicksilver Part 2, the Curious Red-tail, Plus African Greys, Sam, and The Pepperberg Parrot Lab

It has been a bumper year for hornets so humans have had to be wary and as it turns out so too do the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

This immature watched which orifice the hornet was making for and then intelligently chose another.

 I'd seen photographs of hummingbirds during pre-migration hyperphagia landing on human hands as a perch if near a feeder. But I'd never seen it live until I heard that one of the neighbors was participating in episodes of the behavior.

Silver and The Chest of Drawers Part 2

Last we saw Quicksilver he was heading back under the chest of drawers..
First I heard gnawing sounds and then wood splinters being pulled off.

"Silver!  Knock it off!"
Ah oh!  I looked down to make sure I had shoes on.  He no longer looked like a rational parrot and I was in the cross hairs.

And he was coming toward me with focus and I surmised, negative purpose.
Then suddenly he stopped, for no reason I could come up with and appeared to think for a moment...
Then elongated his neck and bobbed his head from the base of his neck, up, down, up, down, up, down, which looks very silly and always gets a laugh.  I laughed  in spite of myself.  He laughed.
Then he tootled off at speed in the opposite direction, went under the chest, out the other side, hopped up on the side of the cat bowl and had a long drink of water.   ???

Why was the Gunfight at the OK Corral avoided?  I have no idea.
 Athena, the newest resident of Dr. Irene Pepperberg's Parrot Lab, newly relocated to Harvard.

 Photo courtesy of Aaron Snyder and The Alex Foundation

 What does this have to do with the home front?  Well give me a minute.

Long time readers of the blog will remember the sporadic appearances in the aforementioned, of my daughter Samantha who has been watching the Red-tailed Hawks in New York City with and without me intermittently since she was 10.  Also she is often mentioned in various adventures with Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot.

Well Samantha, went off to college and she now has her dream work study job.  

No, her job isn't in the library,  or giving tours of the Campus, or cutting up salad in the cafeteria,  Sam interviewed and nabbed a spot at Pepperberg's Parrot Lab.  

A tidbit-
At the end of the interview when Sam was asked if the offered pay was adequate she said, "Are you KIDDING! I'd do this for FREE!"  

It was then explained to her that they tried very hard not to use slave labor at the lab.

And last but not least, the rural Red-tail who keeps flying by and taking a look.  This is weird.  Rural Red-tails 99.9 percent of the time stay as far from humans  than they possibly can.  They are not in the least interested in our human endeavors  in the way that some urban Red-tails are.  Pale Male is interested.  Tristan was interested, the list goes on but not these guys...or so I thought.

One of the freelance things I do is to photograph the yearly Steam School at Thresherman's Park.  People come from all over the country to learn about steam power, try their hand at operating a steam traction engine and in some cases, they gird their loins to take the state test to be licensed as a steam operator.

So I'm photographing this sort of thing... and suddenly a Red-tailed Hawk flies by in the typical curious urban hawk position.  It's a glide with her head turning as she goes to look at the humans and whatever it is they are doing.

This doesn't happen in the country or it hadn't happened to me until this event.  The hawk did it several times, and because it was so out of context in a rural setting I was always staring and forgetting to get the camera up in time.  I felt like some cluck who'd never photographed a hawk on the fly before.

This is the best I got.

But then I realized that in an urban setting one usually has a bit more time before the hawk flies into the tree line and disappears...more buildings, fewer trees.   

Happy Hawking!

Donegal Browne