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Superstitions and Other Bird Thoughts

This is by far one of the most popular posts on our sister blog, Madam Lichtenstein's Cosmic World. I thought that I would share it here for all of our blog's bird lovers. What do you think?

Bird in window

 

 

 

 

 

Today a bird flew into our door window and I felt a shudder of superstitious fear. I recalled that when a bird flies into a house or hits the door or window that it could portend something terrible. In hoping that I was wrong, I began to search superstition sites and I found a great one that I would like to share. Haunted Hamilton is a great site that offers a list of different superstitions and even some background as to where they came from.

So as for the bird, which was black, brown and white and recuperated after its hit and flew away, the superstitions are --

  • A bird that flies into a house foretells an important message. However, if the bird dies, or is white, this foretells death.
  • Signs of Impending Doom - Birds flying into a house or banging against the window.

    Of course Snopes always likes to weigh in on this. And I did find an encouraging reading apropos of a bird flying into a window again on Keen:

Bird Flies at the Window, Death Knocks at the Door? Reposted by Request. I've heard this ominous saying for years, and it still sends chills over my body. My question, however, is what does it really mean when a bird flies at your window? Not just once, but again and again? My sister told me months ago about a little red bird that has been flying at her window every day, sometimes a dozen times. When he isn't hitting the window, he is perched on the arm of a patio chair, and it was at the point where she was really becoming concerned because she, too, had heard the ominous phrase.

I finally did a reading for her and was told that this bird was there to protect her, and he was also warning her of potential danger. Clearly, not a death, but just telling her to be aware of potential dangers around her. She took the warning to heart, took extra care to avoid accidents around the home, and she even went so far as to have a security system installed. Three days after having the system in place, she was awakened to the screeching sound of the security alarm, and found someone attempting to open her downstairs door. Fortunately the police were called out and the intruder was apprehended. Coincidence? I think not, and neither does she.

Her bird has since stopped flying into the window, but he still sits on the chair, her little guardian angel, watching over her. My point in all of this? Be aware that our Guardian Angels take many forms, and I believe that their attempts to get our attention will continue and become stronger until we get the message. So don't force the little bird to break your window. Be aware of the sights and sounds, the seen and the unseen around us, because the protection and the message is always there.

If you want to check out more bird superstitions, check out Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition


Sea Turtle Surgery

Sea turtle
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Honest Paws Reports that 66% of Dog Owners Would Consider Quitting If ...

Axios reports: Two in three dog owners would consider leaving their jobs if their companies no longer offered remote work, according to a survey of 400 dog owners by the pet care company Honest Paws.

A whopping one-third of the dog owners surveyed by Honest Paws got their pets during the pandemic. That means many of these puppies (including mine!) have gotten used to a certain kind of lifestyle and won't be too happy about a full return to work.

https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/work-from-home/

 


Good-Bye Champ. The Passing of Biden's Feisty Dog.

Champ Biden dogThe Bidens bid an emotional farewell to their beloved German Shepherd Champ

“A sweet, good boy.” Champ, one of President Joe Biden and wife Jill’s two German Shepherds, died at age 13. The first family mourned him in a statement, remembering him as a “constant, cherished companion” and saying that “everything was instantly better when he was next to us.” The couple adopted Champ in 2008 and during the Obama administration he was taught how to handle official events, plane journeys and crowds.


Birding Bob

If you live in New York City or are planning on visiting, you may want to check out Birding Bob who offers bird watching tours of Central Park. Central Park has a range of different birds from sparrows to ducks and you may even spot an owl or a hawk along the way.

What could be better than getting a bit of fresh air, in a park and learn something or see something new?


Help The Buffy-Tufted_Ear Marmoset

Buffy tufted ear TEM 2 Rodrigo Bramili
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Click here for the full story

 

 

 

 


San Diego Zoo’s Great Apes Receive First Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine for Animals

ChimpSmithsonian reports that five bonobos and four orangutans were treated with a synthetic form of the virus.

Elizabeth Gamillo reports that the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has vaccinated several apes with an experimental Covid-19 vaccine intended for pets, making the animals the first non-human primates to be vaccinated, reports Rachael Rettner for Live Science.

The vaccine, developed by the veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, was provided to the San Diego Zoo after they requested help in vaccinating other apes when several gorillas tested positive for Covid-19 in January, reports James Gorman for the New York Times. The gorillas were the first known great apes in the world to test positive for coronavirus.

At San Diego zoo facilities, there are 14 gorillas, eight bonobos, and four orangutans living indoors, which leaves them more prone to the spread of Covid-19 infection, reports National Geographic. To help prevent disease spread among the apes, veterinarians with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance selected five bonobos and four orangutans to receive the experimental vaccine, reports Stella Chan and Scottie Andrew for CNN. The selected apes were deemed the most at risk. One of the vaccinated orangutans was Karen, an ape that first made headlines in 1994 for being the first orangutan to have open-heart surgery, the New York Times reports.

Zoetis's vaccine works similarly to the Novavax vaccine for humans by giving recipients of the vaccine a synthetic form of the Covid-19's spike protein that will prime and alert immune systems to fight infection, reports Live Science. To confirm if the vaccine was effective, blood will be drawn from the apes to look for the presence of antibodies. By February, the apes had received two doses of the vaccine, and no adverse reactions occurred within the apes, reports National Geographic. The gorillas previously infected with coronavirus will eventually receive the vaccine but are not a priority because they have since recovered, reports the New York Times.


Himalayan Songbirds Adapted to the Cold with Thicker Down Jackets

Crimson sunbirdThe old adage “free as a bird” doesn’t quite apply in the world’s tallest mountain ranges. Instead, songbird species are confined to specific elevations, where they have evolved to fit that particular climate.

The crimson sunbird, for instance, lives from the foot of the Himalayas up to about 1,600 feet. The green-tailed sunbird, its evolutionary cousin, lives between about 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet of elevation, while another close relative, the fire-tailed sunbird, rules the roost from about 11,000 feet to 13,000 feet.

Scientists who study birds are still unraveling the factors that keep each bird in its elevational niche. Research published this week in the journal Ecography adds a new piece to the puzzle: the higher a songbird species lives in the Himalayas—and the colder temperatures it faces, because of the altitude—the thicker its downy feather layer. The finding could help researchers predict how songbirds will adapt to a changing climate.

Insulation is pretty important,” says vertebrate zoologist Sahas Barve, a Peter Buck fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the first author on the new study. Temperatures in the Himalayas regularly drop below freezing at night. Birds, however, need to keep their bodies at about 104 degrees Fahrenheit. “The straight-line distance between the outside air and the bird's heart is less than an inch. So, it has to maintain that temperature difference across that little barrier,” says Barve.

Feathers provide key insulation. To investigate the ways that feathers evolved to keep birds warm, Barve measured the downy feathers of more than 200 species of Himalayan songbird specimens held in the museum’s vast collections, where rows and rows of file-like cabinets hold taxidermied examples of the world’s avian species.

“Irrespective of body size, birds that live at the bottom of the mountain have less downy feathers than birds that live at the top of the mountain,” says Barve.

Birds are warm-blooded, like humans, so they use a familiar strategy to heat themselves up when the temperature falls—shivering. But at an elevation of 12,000 feet, nighttime temperatures can drop to between 0- and 20-degrees Fahrenheit. Birds in the Himalayas have to shiver so much to stay warm that they can lose a fifth of their body weight in one night. Birds sometimes starve to death because they burn so many calories simply because they are shivering.

As climate change continues to alter weather patterns, extreme cold events could occur more often and last longer each time. That could put a lot of stress on mountain-dwelling bird populations. “To fully understand how birds will deal with changing temperatures, we need to understand this basic, fundamental concept of how birds use their feathers to stay warm,” says Barve.

Barve analyzed 1,715 specimens from the museum’s collections representing 249 Himalayan songbird species. The species were gathered from a 1,000-mile span of the Himalayas, and at elevations from 246 feet to 16,150 feet. The species were as small as the black-face warbler, which weighs just a fraction of an ounce, to the half-pound blue whistling thrush. The oldest specimen included in the study was a blue rock thrush collected in 1876.

Read the full article here.