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.
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)
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 22 Sep 10 16:26
Ours seem to prefer the golf course.
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.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 22 Sep 10 17:47
(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.)
(martyb) Thu 23 Sep 10 07:20
need trained pumas to stalk the geese
Eric Gower (gower) Thu 23 Sep 10 09:44
Huge market for local venison at a certain house in Marin.
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.
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...
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.
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 23 Sep 10 17:57
With catlike tread (sumac) Thu 23 Sep 10 19:38
You could also say pupa-molesting butterflies.
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.
Mary Mackey (mm) Thu 23 Sep 10 23:20
what amazing things
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."
(fom) Fri 24 Sep 10 03:40
Butterflies! I always thought they were so nice.
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>
Ed Ward (captward) Fri 24 Sep 10 08:39
>>Butterflies! I always thought they were so nice. They're bugs. Get over it.
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.
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.
With catlike tread (sumac) Fri 24 Sep 10 11:30
Scott Underwood (esau) Fri 24 Sep 10 11:37
Cheap and plentiful. "Look, you said you love animals, right?"
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.
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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