Feathered friends (or feathered annoyances)

lizkat

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Here's something I didn't know about acorn woodpeckers. They will apparently down tools, leave their own turf (and thousands of stashed acorns) temporarily unguarded and rush miles away just to watch some of their fellow species members go to war with each other over turf that has come up for grabs due to death or other disappearance of the previously dominant woodpecker and his or her famlly and followers.


Acorn woodpeckers are renowned food hoarders. Every fall they stash as many as thousands of acorns in holes drilled into dead tree stumps in preparation for winter. Guarding these “granary trees” against acorn theft is a fierce, familial affair. But all hell breaks loose when there are deaths in a family and newly vacant spots in prime habitat are up for grabs.

The news travels fast. Nearby woodpecker groups rush to the site and fight long, gory battles until one collective wins, according to a study published Monday in Current Biology. These wars also draw woodpecker audiences, the researchers reported, who leave their own territories unattended, demonstrating the immense investment and risks the birds are willing to take in pursuit of better breeding opportunities and intelligence gathering.
 

lizkat

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I've moved on from reading about the first so-called Presidential debate last night to something perhaps more worth having subscribed to the NYT for, at least in today's offerings.

The birds arrived at the park, about 130 miles north of London, at the end of August from five different owners across Britain. Each owner apologized that their pet might have picked up a few choice words, Mr. Nichols said.

They were among about 20 birds to arrive in the same week and spent a week together in quarantine. (The others have been well behaved.) Parrots are typically quiet when they are first placed in public, so the staff thought it was safe to put them outside.

The park had no complaints — in fact, visitors reveled in swearing right back at the birds — but the park officials feared children and parents might not enjoy the experience as much, he said. The chirpy birds were moved into a temporary space away from the public eye, giving them time to be around more family-friendly birds and hopefully clean up their vocabulary.

The birds are expected to be released back into the main colony Wednesday, after their time removed for bad behavior.

A major problem of the parrots’ language, he said, was that it was hilarious.

“When a parrot swears, it’s very difficult for other [sic] humans not to laugh,” he said. “And when we laugh, that’s a positive response. And therefore, what they do is they learn both the laugh and the swear word.”
 

lizkat

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House sparrows are invasive little pests really but I could really go for the shock and awe of seeing a leucistic one pop up in my yard. I have yet to see a leucistic version of any songbird except a redpoll (a small finch w/ red cap on its head) but ever since I heard about leucism in birds I do keep an eye out. They are different to albino birds, retaining eye and beak coloring and often some of their regular contrasting feather patterns. They can first send you to a guidebook thinking you're just seeing a variant that doesn't usually live in your region or migrate through it.


More on albino v leucistic birds

 
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lizkat

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Love baby barred owls... ancient looking eyes even when not even quite fledged out.

This photo by Maranda Mink in a nature preserve somewhere in Alabama.

baby barred owl (photo Maranda Mink).jpg
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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Here's something I didn't know about acorn woodpeckers. They will apparently down tools, leave their own turf (and thousands of stashed acorns) temporarily unguarded and rush miles away just to watch some of their fellow species members go to war with each other over turf that has come up for grabs due to death or other disappearance of the previously dominant woodpecker and his or her famlly and followers.


I'm late to this thread. We have woodpeckers at our cabin. For decades they slowly made the outside walls look like swiss cheese. Then the lord Jehovah created cement board. Problem solved.

When replacing the outside walls acorns came pouring out like a multi-generational life changing slot machine win.
 

Eric

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You need to contact yourself and also post this in the photography forum (if you haven't already). Love the portrait blur. Did you do that manually when taking the photo?
Thanks! That's right out of the camera with a bit of post processing color correction and that's it. The lens has a really shallow depth of field so it gives those really nice creamy blurs naturally.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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Thanks! That's right out of the camera with a bit of post processing color correction and that's it. The lens has a really shallow depth of field so it gives those really nice creamy blurs naturally.
That's sweet. Looks really professional and like a shot that normally would take a while to setup and wait for the right moment. What do you use for post?

Love Santa Cruz BTW. It's so weird (cool) that just a 17 mile drive over a hill from where I live and you are completely out of the Silicon Valley mindset and into something almost contradictory to that. A lot of it feels like it's frozen in the 80's or prior. Plus it's a small town that had 2 famous serial killers active at the same time in the 70's! Rich history is what I'm trying to say here.
 

Eric

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That's sweet. Looks really professional and like a shot that normally would take a while to setup and wait for the right moment. What do you use for post?

Love Santa Cruz BTW. It's so weird (cool) that just a 17 mile drive over a hill from where I live and you are completely out of the Silicon Valley mindset and into something almost contradictory to that. A lot of it feels like it's frozen in the 80's or prior. Plus it's a small town that had 2 famous serial killers active at the same time in the 70's! Rich history is what I'm trying to say here.
There was definitely some luck here as it happened to be on a rooftop that was eye level at the mystery spot (I forget that you're basically a local so I'm sure you know where that is) and there's a lot of cool shit to photograph there. I use Adobe Lightroom for all of my post processing, in this one it was really just some contrast and that was it.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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There was definitely some luck here as it happened to be on a rooftop that was eye level at the mystery spot (I forget that you're basically a local so I'm sure you know where that is) and there's a lot of cool shit to photograph there. I use Adobe Lightroom for all of my post processing, in this one it was really just some contrast and that was it.
I'm about to kill my Adobe subscription as I've been using Luminar. Have you heard of or tried it? For my skillset it's not missing anything, has some impressive features, and has a one time reasonable price.
 

Eric

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I'm about to kill my Adobe subscription as I've been using Luminar. Have you heard of or tried it? For my skillset it's not missing anything, has some impressive features, and has a one time reasonable price.
I personally love the new subscription model with Adobe, of course I'm really used to LR now and have learned it in and out, which is half the battle. I do a lot of long exposure photography/night and know all the little tricks with it.
 
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