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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:24 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
There appears to me no knockout punch in this fight. At what point do the judges make a decision?

Now.

Since the Mad Hatter and March Hare appear to be on holiday, I hereby appoint myself judge and referee. This is my ruling: I rule that since even only one cat quadruples the lot, we're all screwed, and should run for the hills.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Having got that out of the way, can we start on Schrodinger's cat now?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:21 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
chas wrote:
Almost totally unrelated, but since we're talking about small predators: I've seen three struck foxes by the side of the road in the last couple of days. I think in the 25 previous years I've lived here, I'd seen a total of three. That indicates to me that the fox population is unusually high. There has certainly been a plethora of rabbits the last couple of years.

Could be a case of as goes the prey, so goes the predator.

Rabbit population where I live is pretty stable. I attribute that mainly to an urban setting with limited consistent resources. In all my time in this neighborhood - 12 years, now? - I've seen only one fox, and I never expected to see even that much. There is the odd pocket of wild growth about, but they're few, small and very widely scattered. Best bet is that fox came up all the way from the Mississippi banks where there's plenty of productive riparian habitat, but that's a quarter mile away with a lot of asphalt in between. My rabbits must be especially toothsome. Dining out - that's city life. :wink:

But there's been urbanization one never used to see. I never used to see cardinals, bald eagles, opossums, beaver, wild turkeys, deer or foxes within the city proper. Now it's not all that unusual. On the one hand I welcome it, but on the other I wonder if it points to something other than simple eventual adaptation.


I live in the 'burbs in an area with 1/4-1/2 acre lots and, at least as important, lots of park land. Rock Creek Park goes from the Potomac in DC all the way up to maybe five miles north of me, uninterrupted. I'm about two miles away. We regularly have deer in our yard (by regularly I mean probably a couple of dozen days a year). The rabbit population is always healthy, but presumably goes up and down, and the fox population along with it. A friend has seen a couple of coyotes near his house; I think I saw one on an early morning run last year. I've also seen bear scat at work, where there have been two sightings.

I also saw a bald eagle just a mile from my house a couple of years ago. I remember when I was a kid knowing that in my lifetime the only way I'd get to see a bald eagle would be to go to Alaska. Now I seen them most times when I get to Maine or eastern Maryland or Virginia. Heck, I saw one pluck a fish out of a bay just about 20 feet from me a couple of years ago on the Bay side of the Eastern Shore. That was truly a highlight of my life.

My new avatar is a hawk I snapped in my yard a couple weeks ago.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:35 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Having got that out of the way, can we start on Schrodinger's cat now?


Heisenberg's just gotten a new car and asks Schrodinger out for a drive. They're just out into the country when flashing lights come up behind them. Heisenberg pulls over, and a cop walks up and asks, "Do you know how fast you were going?"

Heisenberg replies, "No, but I know where I am."

Cop: "You were going 120 kilometers an hour."

Heisenberg: "Oh, great, now I'm lost."

The cop thinks Heisenberg is dissing him and asks both men to get out of the car. He searches the car, finishing up by popping the trunk. He says, "Did you know there's a dead cat in your trunk?"

Schrodinger, totally exasperated, says, "Well I do now!"

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:45 pm 
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chas wrote:
I remember when I was a kid knowing that in my lifetime the only way I'd get to see a bald eagle would be to go to Alaska.

That's what I thought, too. Imagine the cognitive dissonance when I saw one circling over an industrial park in St. Paul. And that was a few years back. Since then I've seen one or two overhead in my neighborhood. Both locales aren't far from the Mississippi River, though, so it's not as if there's no practical reason for a sighting. What is notable is that some seem to have adjusted even to the hurly-burly of urban settings, so long as there's a food source.

chas wrote:
My new avatar is a hawk I snapped in my yard a couple weeks ago.

Nice. Red Tailed, maybe?

I haven't seen coyotes in town yet, but I suppose the day will come. I was camping at a hobby farm and at nightfall got to hear plenty of them all at once, though. No mistaking them for wolves: I don't know whether to call them enthusiastic, or insane. No howls, but there was this mad, unruly chorus of a complex language of yips, yelps, barks, chitters, chatters, moans, warbles, and whimpers. Went on for quite a while, and it was loud. Seriously, the first thing that came to mind was a crowd of teenagers at the mall. One of the other campers, a fellow who lives in the 'burbs and also has coyotes, told me that an evening ruckus like that is typical.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:28 pm 
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My default around here is red-tailed, but I think this is a Cooper's hawk. This one is pretty small. I'll try to post a pic tomorrow.

I'd only ever seen a couple of coyotes in captivity. They were at most around 50 pounds. The one I thought I saw around here looked to be around 70-80. A few weeks later I saw one at my father-in-law's place in very rural Virginia that he verified was a coyote, and it was around the same size. They were the size of small wolves. But, as you say, I've heard them at my FiL's place, and they don't sound like wolves.

Plus they tend to blow themselves up and the Acme boxes around his property are becoming a nuisance. We keep our pet roadrunner (really a cockatiel with non-functioning legs) inside.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:36 pm 
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chas wrote:
We keep our pet roadrunner (really a cockatiel with non-functioning legs) inside.

I have so many questions...

What does it do, just roll around? Or has it learned to walk with its wings? Do you carry it about in your pocket?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Coyotes get larger the farther east you go. On the west coast they're on the order of 30 pounds. By the time you get to Nova Scotia, they're twice that size, or more. This is usually attributed to the admixture of dog and/or wolf genes, but I dunno how sound that conclusion is. It may also be significant that in these locales, the coyote population was once largely wiped out and has only in recent decades rebounded. It might be that the coyotes are bigger because the wolf population was also destroyed, so there's now a niche open for a larger canid, and coyotes are filling it.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:31 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Having got that out of the way, can we start on Schrodinger's cat now?

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:01 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
kkrell wrote:
There appears to me no knockout punch in this fight. At what point do the judges make a decision?

Now.

Since the Mad Hatter and March Hare appear to be on holiday, I hereby appoint myself judge and referee. This is my ruling: I rule that since even only one cat quadruples the lot, we're all screwed, and should run for the hills.



If there ever was a day that we needed a hero, that day is now.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:09 pm 
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See? Hydra cat.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:36 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
chas wrote:
We keep our pet roadrunner (really a cockatiel with non-functioning legs) inside.

I have so many questions...

What does it do, just roll around? Or has it learned to walk with its wings? Do you carry it about in your pocket?


She still flies okay -- landings are tough, of course. She can drag herself around by her beak. Her legs move a little, but she hasn't been able to perch in probably three years. She's a pearl cockatiel, and evidently Australia hasn't allow export of that breed in 40+ years, so the American stock is very inbred, and degenerative bone disease is common. My wife has made a bottom for her cage out of foam that slopes away from the middle, which works really well. She pretty much only overnights in the cage.

As promised, the hawk from several weeks ago:

Image

And for good measure a praying mantis from last fall:

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:49 pm 
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Nice shots. I think we're looking at a sharp-shinned hawk, there, judging by its tail.

I've never seen praying mantises hereabouts. Must be the harsh winters.

How old is your cockatiel? Does she get depressed since her legs stopped working?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:32 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
How old is your cockatiel? Does she get depressed since her legs stopped working?


I think around 7 or 8. The first vet we took her to gave her maybe three months. That was 6 or 7 years ago. A couple of years ago I was ready to gas her. It was around then that my wife thought of the soft bottom for the cage. That's made all the difference.

She seems perfectly happy, still very sociable.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:00 pm 
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All the best to your cockatiel, and long may her wings work well.

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