inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #76 of 124: Michael D. Sullivan (avogadro) Wed 22 Sep 10 12:33
    
An addled egg has been shaken vigorously so as to break up the
components inside and make it non-viable.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #77 of 124: Betsy Schwartz (betsys) Wed 22 Sep 10 13:55
    
Yep. The trick to addling is that it *fools* the geese, who sit on it
for a long time before giving up. If you just break the eggs, the geese
know it and go lay more. 

I'm sure urban geese are eating a lot of crud but not sure that our
suburban ones are doing too badly (although the ones who live on the
football field a couple towns over probably get WAY too much buttered
popcorn)
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #78 of 124: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 22 Sep 10 16:26
    

Ours seem to prefer the golf course.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #79 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Wed 22 Sep 10 16:47
    
(Goose stock, though...)

Perhaps when humankind is gone, Canada geese will still be strolling
around on their big flat feet, honking.  Hence a collective feeling
that a goose walked over our grave.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #80 of 124: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 22 Sep 10 17:47
    

Goosed!
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #81 of 124: (fom) Wed 22 Sep 10 22:22
    
I used to love geese but now I don't. They've taken over and ruined nearly 
all the parks in Oakland and some of Berkeley, and it is so disheartening 
to have to repeatedly tell my grandson to stay off the grass -- in a PARK. 
On the way to FAIRYLAND. 

sumac, what do you think could (should, might) be done about the urban 
park takeover geese?

(I'm scared of the pumas too but I never see them. I think jef's deer plan 
is good but it'd never fly.)
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #82 of 124: (martyb) Thu 23 Sep 10 07:20
    
need trained pumas to stalk the geese
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #83 of 124: Eric Gower (gower) Thu 23 Sep 10 09:44
    
Huge market for local venison at a certain house in Marin.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #84 of 124: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 23 Sep 10 10:09
    
I was looking at some of your blog posts, Susan, and wondering which
was your all-time weirdest research quest of the lot of them, or the
thing you least expected to find out.  What a lot of fun to be able to
do all that animal detective work.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #85 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Thu 23 Sep 10 11:15
    
As far as the geese, I don't know.  It's not something I've explored.
Killing off geese seems an ineffective strategy -- more geese will
come to take  their place. A successful strategy would be one that
makes the parks unpleasant for geese.

The strategy some places have tried, of chasing them with border
collies, seems to be limited. You have to be there, with dogs, all
the time, to discourage the geese -- too many person hours and dog
hours.

If geese were afraid some predator were lying wait for them, on the
other hand...
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #86 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Thu 23 Sep 10 11:30
    
(gail), that's a hard one. One of the oddest ones was the old duck
decoys they had in England, using duck psychology to net hundreds
and hundreds of ducks for the London markets:

<http://tinyurl.com/2fjbqd8>

That amazed me.  Someone else's amazing experience might be the
sea otter with the videocamera:

<http://tinyurl.com/2g3yhov>

Probably the most startling one that happened to me also happened to
(cruella), who was kind enough to illustrate it -- the armed aye-aye:

<http://tinyurl.com/27t38a3>

and its followup:

<http://tinyurl.com/2dab72h>

And something I'm working on now, though I'm not sure how popular it
will be, the child-molesting butterflies.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #87 of 124: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 23 Sep 10 17:57
    

Say what??
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #88 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Thu 23 Sep 10 19:38
    

You could also say pupa-molesting butterflies.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #89 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Thu 23 Sep 10 23:06
    

Some animals give "fear screams" for reasons that aren't immediately
clear.  The best known example is probably rabbits.  If a fox grabs
a rabbit, the rabbit will often shriek.  The question is why.  ("He
was startled, duh" is not considered to be a good enough answer.)

Other rabbits are not going to rush to the rescue.  The fox is not
going to apologize and release the rabbit.  So what's the point?

The answer is probably that the rabbit has a chance -- a small but
significant chance -- to derail the process that ends with the fox
killing and eating the rabbit. If it's a young fox, it might be
startled.  Much more likely is that other predators will hear the
rabbit scream and rush to the scene to meddle.

Hunters use rabbit calls that imitate these screams to attract
predators, so it definitely draws them. And if a coyote shows up,
the process is likely to be derailed.  Maybe the fox will still
eat the rabbit, maybe the *coyote* will eat the rabbit, and maybe
while the fox and the coyote are insulting each other the rabbit
will get away.

The biologist James Lazell, in his book "Island," notes that
soldier crabs do something similar -- about a third of the ones
in his study area squeak when he picks them up. (No other crabs
try to intervene.)

Interesting. But then he mentions that pupae of Zebra butterflies
do this too.  There's the pupa, hanging from a vine, and Lazell
takes hold of it to examine it, and it squeaks.  He consulted
another biologist, who said that they pupae don't say a word when
an ant touches them, but they squeak when a caterpillar -- a fifth-
instar caterpillar of their species -- touches them.  So maybe it
is a signal that says "Don't pupate here, this spot is taken."

Okay, weird.  But there's more.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #90 of 124: Mary Mackey (mm) Thu 23 Sep 10 23:20
    

what amazing things
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #91 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Thu 23 Sep 10 23:27
    
I was web-searching for more information about the squeaking of
the pupae, and I didn't find any. But the search terms (Heliconius
and pupae) led to discussions of "pupal mating." This is when male
butterfly stakes out the pupa of a female. In some species of
butterflies a female will hatch out to find a male courting her --
in Heliconius species the male may not wait for her to hatch
(or "eclose') but will mate with her before she hatches.

WHO THINKS THIS STUFF UP?

So of course biologists argue about whether this is a bad or good
deal for the females in question, for example (abstract):

<http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1680/407.abstract>

Perhaps you feel that child-molesting is the wrong term for this.
Perhaps you prefer New Scientist's description of the male butterfly,
"pupae-sniffing cradle-snatcher."
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #92 of 124: (fom) Fri 24 Sep 10 03:40
    
Butterflies! I always thought they were so nice. 
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #93 of 124: Scott Underwood (esau) Fri 24 Sep 10 08:02
    
Thought of you this morning, Susan, on hearing today's Morning Edition
piece on hybridized superpanthers bred to invade Florida cities:

<http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130078633>
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #94 of 124: Ed Ward (captward) Fri 24 Sep 10 08:39
    
>>Butterflies! I always thought they were so nice. 

They're bugs. Get over it.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #95 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Fri 24 Sep 10 09:42
    
Here is the person you need on your side, Scott, should you be
confronted by an invasive hybridized superpanther:

<http://tinyurl.com/bearzuke>

Or if she is busy, at least you know what weapon to deploy.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #96 of 124: Scott Underwood (esau) Fri 24 Sep 10 10:57
    
It's unclear what vegetable will repel superpanther. Funding is needed for
further research; also, volunteers.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #97 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Fri 24 Sep 10 11:30
    
Undergraduates!
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #98 of 124: Scott Underwood (esau) Fri 24 Sep 10 11:37
    
Cheap and plentiful. "Look, you said you love animals, right?"
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #99 of 124: For Rosetti, wombats held a peculiar fascination (loris) Fri 24 Sep 10 20:37
    
i heard about this male guarding of female pupa with light brown apple moth.
evidently the butchy free-range moths are better at waiting by a female
pupa to mate --- than the laboratory-reared sterile moths.
  
inkwell.vue.392 : The Writings of Susan McCarthy
permalink #100 of 124: With catlike tread (sumac) Fri 24 Sep 10 21:49
    
Really!

Heliconius don't wait -- they mate while she is still in the pupa.
  

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