Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mockingbirds can identify specific people and react to those they don't trust

Talk about bird intelligence: the mockingbird has come in to the limelight recently as a result of a study of how this species adapts to urbanization.
The focus of the study was 24 mockingbird nests in an urban area. Ten people with varying dress, hair, etc. would approach the nests and touch them; by the third such attempt, the birds would attack the researchers (one of the students had to park their car around the block because the bird even recognized the car and would sound the alarm). The birds could identify specific people and would ignore others. The conclusion of the study: mockingbirds are "naturally perceptive about their environment, especially threats to their nests." My conclusion: don't mess with a mother bird.

There have been many studies linking bird intelligence with ability of birds to mimic human speech. Mockingbirds mimic other birds, not humans, to attract females; that seems pretty intelligent to me. The big mystery is why mockingbirds imitate other birds rather than create their own songs.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Followers or not, here I come

The comic strip below shows a new problem I've had to deal with: finding followers (or not). I signed up for Facebook and lo and behold, I discovered there is a NatureNetwork of blogs which is part of Networked blogs which are all linked to Facebook. I signed up for it and passed the test of putting the NetworkedBlogs gadget on my blog. The problem is that was just the beginning...

To have RSS feeds of my blog pulled into their network, I have to have at least four followers also on Facebook! Here is this big NetworkedBlogs gadget on the right side of my blog that showed only one follower---me. Enough already!!! I deleted that gadget and concluded I can always post my blog to my Facebook wall manually.

I refuse to feel pressured into some popularity contest: how many people are following you? I don't need to add anything else to my insecurities! Oh well, it was worth a try; and it's amazing how much easier it was to post the comic below this time around!

What, I need followers?