A nice little fright for the children, right before Halloween! Ick…
Note: Grab the tissues, this ones a tear jerker…yayy!!!
- The stunning images were captured by whale-watcher guide off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada
By Anna Edwards
This whale was literally jumping for joy after a rescue crew saved her friend from drowning.
These extraordinary photos show a humpback whale ‘celebrating’ after another female was cut free from stray ropes attached to old lobster pots.
The stunning images were captured by Christine Callaghan, 62, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.
She said: ‘I’ve seen many breaches, and they are always awesome. But this one was different and special in a way that made my throat tighten.’
The incredible moment was captured by Christine Callaghan, 62, a guide with a whale-watching cruiser in the region
Grommet the humpback whale bursts through the water in celebration after members of the Whale Rescue Team managed to free sidekick Foggy
Christine, a whale-watch guide with Pirate’s Cove Whale & Seabird Cruises, had been leading a trip when they received reports of an entangled whale and decided to take a detour.
The discovered a female humpback known as Foggy who had become ensnared in ropes from old lobster pots in the Bay of Fundy, two miles offshore of Long Island.
Foggy, described by Christine as a ‘Fundy favourite’, was born in 1987 to a whale named Bermuda.
Humpbacks return to the feeding grounds their mothers brought them to when they were calves, meaning Foggy returns to the bay year after year.
The whale had rope wrapped around her head and across her blowholes and peduncle – the narrow part of her tail, just ahead of the flukes.
A humpback whale swims in front of the Whale Rescue Team in the Bay of Fundy, two miles off the coast of Long Island in Nova Scotia
The humpback whale known as Grommet (front of pic) waits patiently by the side of Foggy after she became entangled in ropes in the Bay of Fundy
Foggy was dragging a mass of old lobster traps beneath her, causing her to list to one side with the weight of all the gear.
However, remaining faithfully by her side throughout the ordeal was a fellow humpback known as Grommet.
Another boat, the Shearwater, from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, happened to be in the Bay and came to offer assistance.
The Shearwater crew were able to do an initial survey and radio through details to the Fast Response Craft that was speeding to the scene.
A member of the Whale Rescue Team prepares to use specialist equipment to disentangle old lobster pot lines from around Foggy
Members of Campobello Whale Rescue Team helped the whale, who had rope wrapped around her head and across her blowholes and peduncle
Foggy was dragging a mass of old lobster traps beneath her, causing her to list to one side with the weight of all the gear
The Shearwater crew were able to do an initial survey and radio through details to the Fast Response Craft that was speeding to the scene
The Campobello Whale Rescue Team then used specialist equipment to cut the rope snagging Foggy’s tail, and then the ones around her head.
The crew decided to leave a single strand in her mouth, fearing they would cause excessive bleeding if they dragged it out, and figuring that she would likely be able to rid herself of it.
The instant Foggy was freed, Grommet dove and then burst from the water in a spectacular celebratory breach.
Christine said: ‘The timing, immediately after the ropes were cut completely freeing Foggy, and the fact that it was Foggy’s ‘friend’ that breached, was so touching to me.
As Foggy was cut free from stray ropes by whale rescuers, Grommet breached next to the rescuer’s boat in an amazing display of thanks
Freedom! Foggy was freed and Grommet, who had remained faithfully by her side, was thrilled
‘Knowing how intelligent these animals are, and having observed Grommet’s steadfast, seemingly protective companionship of Foggy those several hours while we waited with them for the rescue boat, I personally interpreted that breach as an act of joy and celebration that her pal was out of danger.
‘Everyone on the boat felt a huge sense that we had just witnessed something wonderful.’
All present were left with a smile on their face as the two whales swam away side by side up the Bay, the northernmost reach of the whale feeding ground known as the Gulf of Maine.
The mouth of the Bay is one of the best places in the world to see several different species of whales, including finbacks, minkes, the very rare North Atlantic right whale and humpbacks.
Extraordinary show of sentience from this magnificent Tiger, and tears of joy reading how this child connected with one of natures fiercest predators. Reminds me a famous biblical quote “And the lion will lay down with the lamb…”. Simply remarkable! Read story below…
‘I noticed that Taj had taken an interest in the girl and was heading towards her.
‘I thought for certain that the little girl would need therapy after the encounter and fear cats for the rest of her life.
‘I could not believe my eyes when Taj approached the girl, bowed his head and then placed his huge right paw exactly in front of where the little girl’s left hand was.
‘It was incredible to watch. Taj let down his right paw, rubbed his cheek against the glass where the little girl’s face was and moved off.’
Far from being scared, the little girl was so excited that she started clapping as she walked back afterwards towards her mother.
‘I have never seen such tenderness from such a large predator,’ Mr Daniels said.
Photographer Dyrk Daniels
The images were captured by Linda Kerley of the Zoological Society of London, who was looking to photograph Siberian tigers in Russia. She noticed deer tracks that came to an abrupt end, but it wasn’t until she looked her photographs that she saw what really happened to the animal.
By Michael Walsh / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 2:30 PM
A camera set up by scientist Linda Kerley captures a golden eagle attacking a sika deer in Russia.
Simply amazing display of respect and sense of mortality from man’s best friend! Apparently the shift in consciousness is also affecting the animal kingdom as much as it is in humans, this is the second video recently of a dog burying a comrade…
Published on May 15, 2013
Video Courtesy: CamTran (CAMBRIA COUNTY TRANSIT AUTHORITY)
A bus driver in the US state of Pennsylvania had a rather unexpected passenger drop in on him as a deer crashed through the windshield of his vehicle. The bus was making it usual journey in the Johnstown area when Tuesday’s accident happened. Footage captured by a security camera on board the bus shows the deer trashing around in the front of the vehicle in a desperate attempt to escape. Transport authorities who released the footage say the shocked driver eventually managed to opened the door and that the deer got off.
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Classic cat mischief in action, now this is one clever cat! Watch it’s tail while barking, it barely moves until caught in the act…then, swish, swish….ROTFLMAO!!
Uploaded on Jun 17, 2011
There is a suspicion that cats and dogs are only putting an act on for the humans, proof of this has been a long time coming, However this remarkable video catches a cat barking like a dog, until he realizes he is being watched by a human. I expect that we will soon see cats walking on two legs, operating a can opener, and dogs reading the paper. They are just playing with us people!
This is heartbreaking, dolphins are such loving and sensitive beings. Cetaceans are highly telepathic, please join me in sending the mother love, light, joy and let her know the transitioning of her baby was not in vain, she touched the hearts of countless souls. At least she’s not alone, the empathy, compassion and protection from her pod members is incredible…
IMO the boat should back-off and leave her to grieve alone.
Thu, 28 Mar 2013
Whale watchers on Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari out of Dana Point in California had one of the most heart-breaking dolphin encounters in recent memory. As a pod of dolphins swam by the boat, Captain Dave Anderson spotted an adult dolphin carrying a deceased calf on her back.
“I believe this calf has been dead for many days, possibly weeks,” he notes. “In my nearly twenty years on the water whale-watching I have never seen this behavior. Nor have I ever seen anything quite as moving as this mother who refuses to let go of her poor calf.” Oof. Hits us right in the feel-spots.
Published on Mar 28, 2013
Plague of locusts infests impoverished Madagascar
Madagascar hit by ‘severe’ plague of locusts
Scary locusts plague Madagascar, might eat most of the country’s food
FAIR USE NOTICE: This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 106A-117 of the U.S. Copyright Law.
Smoke watching became bird watching in St. Peter’s Square after a gull spent several minutes perched atop the chimney that belches out smoke from the Sistine Chapel
In the absence of a pope, a seagull stole the show at the papal conclave.
Smoke watching became bird watching in St. Peter’s Square after a gull spent several minutes perched atop the chimney that belches out smoke from the Sistine Chapel to signal whether or not a pope has been elected.
From the chapel’s tiled roof, the gull had a commanding bird’s eye view of the sea of pilgrims eagerly waiting in the rain for papal tidings.
The bird offered welcome comic relief. Dublin tourist Harry Sheeran said it was “nearer to heaven than we are.”
Minutes after being spotted, the bird inspired a multitude of Twitter postings.
One quick Twitter user even created a spoof account @SistineSeagull, providing ‘live commentary’ on the papal conclave from the roof of the Sistine Chapel.
The Spirit of Gaia made some very intriguing appearances at the Vatican since the Pope’s resignation.
First sign: seagull attacks the papal dove.
Second: Lightning strikes the Basilica twice the day Benedict resigned.
Third: Seagulls on the chimney waiting for smoke.
Only time will tell what it all means…
Couldn’t resist posting a couple of the Tweeted photo’s..
- By: JUDITH McGINNIS Scripps Howard News Service
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Bruce Martin was watching movies in the middle of the night when he suffered a massive heart attack. His dog Clyde nudged him and, getting no response, trotted into the bedroom to awaken Bruce’s wife,Mitch.
The Martins believe that Clyde, a 5-year-old pit bull/golden retriever mix, saved Bruce’s life.
“Clyde’s my insomnia buddy. He’d stay up with me while I was watching movies at 3 in the morning,” said Martin, still recovering from the Feb. 11 collapse and subsequent bypass surgery. “That particular night I got up to cross the room and had the heart attack. I was unconscious, and when he couldn’t get me to respond, he went to get Mitch.”
“It took him two tries, but he led me to the living room,” Mitch said. “That’s where I found Bruce slumped over the back of the couch.”
Note: Another great example how intelligence levels in animals are also evolving in consciousness…
A California coroner says a lion that killed a volunteer at a big cat park used its paw to lift a partially closed door and escape from a feeding cage.
Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said investigators believe the lion then attacked and killed Dianna Hanson as she cleaned a larger enclosure.
The lion broke the 24-year-old intern’s neck and she died almost instantly.
Police shot and killed the animal to reach her, believing Ms Hanson was severely injured but alive.
“The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning the large enclosure, and the lion was in the small cage,” Mr Hadden explained, adding the cage door was partially open, allowing the lion to lift it up with his paw.
“He ran at the young lady.”
The coroner added that bite and claw marks found on her body happened after she died, after the lion broke her neck with a paw swipe.
The facility, known as Project Survival’s Cat Haven, is normally closed on Wednesdays when the attack happened, and only one other worker was present during the mauling.
The founder of Cat Haven, Dale Anderson, said that he and two other workers had left to take a cheetah to exhibit at a local school.
Ms Hanson was identified by her father, who said working at the wildlife park had been her “dream job”, according to the Associated Press.
She had been working for two months as an intern at the 100-acre (40 ha) park, about 45 miles (75km) east of Fresno.
Her father said his daughter had experience at wildlife parks and was “at ease” with big cats, but added that she told him she would not be allowed inside the lion’s cage.
The lion was a four-year-old male named Couscous, a California Fish and Wildlife spokesman said.
Couscous had been raised at Cat Haven since he was eight weeks old, said Tanya Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival.
The project opened in 1993, and has housed numerous big cats, including Bengal tigers, Siberian lynx, jaguars and leopards.
Susan Rennisons Comment: This is the headline provided by a BBC link which seems to be quite provocative but in line with other stories such as cows learning how to by-pass gate locks and escape…. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake hypothesises that morphogenetic fields belonging to each individual species exists and is used to retain and pass around information sharing, habits and knowledge, rather like a species specific info-sharing internet (a fully accesible Facebook & Twitter for each creature held in the environment). For actual experimental ‘evidence’ see last weeks rat mental chat (Rat-Twitter) headlines. There have been many reports of ‘teaching’ e.g. dolphins released into the wild teaching others how to tail-walk but it is also believed that certain knowledge can be picked up by those in distant locations and this is the basis of the 100th Monkey principle that scientists have tried to debunk. Whatever, it is becoming very noticeable that certain animals, birds and fish are acting more intelligently and surprising humans. Therefore, the evidence suggests to me that in a time of rapid evolutionary change, those morphogenetic fields are being quickly updated by the environment too and more knowledge sharing is also passing between different species…
Note: I wonder if he was trying to play with her, if he lived around people all his life and assuming he hasn’t been subjected to abusive treatment it’s hard to believe this was an act of aggression. When cats swat it’s usually a form of play, if they’re going in for the kill they pounce on their prey with both front paws and immediately bite down to immobilize the victim.
Swimmers at Florida’s Palm Beach have been told to stay out of the water this week as thousands of sharks have been spotted in shallow waters close to the shoreline.
6:47PM GMT 07
The huge shoal of sharks which has shut down beaches in Florida, is migrating up the east coast of the US to North Carolina.
Tens of thousands of the predators, mostly blacktip and spinner sharks, are moving north for their annual migration.
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University said they had counted about 15,000 sharks.
Experts said the sharks usually migrate earlier in the year during the winter. This year the migration is about a month later than expected.
Local television news stations filmed thousands of sharks in the clear waters off the Florida coast.
Elizabeth Horowitz, who lives across from the beach at Palm Beach, was hoping to catch another glimpse of the sharks on Wednesday.
“People really need to heed these warnings, ” she said. “Thank God it’s a public beach and they have lifeguards.”
Local lifeguards were worried about keeping beach-goers out of the water as the peak of spring holidays approach.
While they’re experienced at shark sightings, Lifeguard Supervisor Craig Pollock said this year the sharks were coming closer to the shore.
“A lot of times when we have a sandbar, the sharks stay off the shore a little further about 50 to 100 yards,” he said.
Note: Nature is trying to tell us something, we’re seeing a lot of movement in the oceans either their moving away from something, beaching themselves or turning up dead in mass kills. My guess is volcanic and seismic activity that’s releasing methane and hydrogen sulfide from the bottom of the ocean and possibly sonar testing from military or oil producers are wreaking havoc under the surface in certain regions so we’re seeing mass migrations as ocean dwellers seek safer waters that are getting more difficult to find as the earth changes begin accelerate…
Note: This should be a wake-up call for people believing that nuclear technology is acceptable at any level, because this is only the beginning of the mutations in nature and for human beings.
SINA News, 1st March 2013
Tehran, the capital of Iran, is battling an invasion of “genetically mutated” giant rats. Iran has sent in sniper teams to clear Tehran’s streets from the massive rodents weighting up to five kilos plaguing 26 district of the Iranian capital, the city’s environmental agency said.
“They seem to have had a genetic mutation, probably as a result of radiations and the chemical used on them,” Ismail Kahram, Teheran city council environment adviser and university professor Ismail Kahram told Qudsonline.ir.
“They are now bigger and look different. These are changes that normally take millions of years of evolution. They have jumped from 60 grams to five kilos, and cats are now smaller than them.”
The “mutated rats” have been running rampant in the capital, as cats are scared off by their giant size and traditional poison appear to have no effect on them.
Comment: This is another example of rapid evolutionary change. Darwinists are facing a tremendous amount of opposition as the evidence mounts that they have badly got this wrong, this is an interesting quote:
Richard C. Strohman, professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology at Berkeley, and an evolutionist, wrote in the March 1997 edition of Nature Biotechnology: “There is a striking lack of correspondence between genetic and evolutionary change. Neo-Darwinian theory predicts a steady, slow continuous, accumulation of mutations (microevolution) that produces a progressive change in morphology leading to new species, genera, and so on (macroevolution). But macroevolution now appears to be full of discontinuities (punctuated evolution), so we have a mismatch of some importance. That is, the fossil record shows mostly stasis, or lack of change, in a species for many millions of years; there is no evidence there for gradual change even though, in theory, there must be a gradual accumulation of mutations at the micro level.” “We currently have no adequate explanation for stasis or for punctuated equilibrium in evolution, or for higher order regulation in cells.” “We seem to lack any scientific basis with which to explain, for example, evolution.” “Not necessarily so. It does suggest, however, that our evolutionary theory is incomplete.” “The theory is in trouble because it insists on locating the driving force solely in random mutations.” “It is becoming clear that sequence information in DNA, by itself, contains insufficient information for determining how gene products (proteins) interact to produce a mechanism of any kind.
“Understanding of complex function may in fact be impossible without recourse to influences outside of the genome.” –Richard C. Strohman. March 1997. The coming Kuhnian revolution in biology. Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 15, pp. 194-200
Source: Debunking Evolution: problems between the theory and reality; the false science of evolution
This whole paper is interesting. Energy driven evolutionary change requires an overall intelligence (Universal Consciousness) supplying new templates or morphogenetic fields and monitoring progress. It seems that many evolutionary biologists can now no longer ignore the facts despite their mandate to mislead the general public.
- by Piper Hoffman
- February 24, 2013
Animals are smarter than we thought.
This matters not just because it’s cool and fascinating. It matters because people use lack of intelligence as the reason to treat humans and non-human animals differently. It’s okay to eat animals and experiment on them, the rationale goes, because they are just dumb animals.
Science is biting itself in the butt on this one by continually discovering that animals aren’t so different from us after all, which will make it harder to justify experimenting on them.
These are some of the smartest animals in no particular order:
These thinkers have been named the second smartest species, after us, of course. They “co-operate with military precision to round up shoals of fish to eat.” They recognize themselves in mirrors. One dolphin was held captive for three weeks and was taught to tail-walk; after her release, “scientists were astonished to see the trick spreading among wild dolphins who had learnt it from the former captive.” They can learn “a rudimentary symbol-based language.” Dolphins “can solve difficult problems” and have “a high level of emotional sophistication.” Plus, they have really big brains. Things have gone so far that scientists have suggested “they are so bright that they should be treated as ‘non-human persons,’” protected from imprisonment in tanks, exploitation in amusement parks and slaughter.
When people can no longer point to a huge gap in intelligence between humans and other animals, it gets harder to justify torturing and using them.
Ravens have incredible recall for their friends’ voices. After living together for three years, then being separated for three years (during which time their calls may have changed), the ravens responded with friendly calls to recordings of the voices of their old friends.
They also remembered which birds they liked and which they didn’t. Recordings of the voices of ravens they didn’t care for elicited different reactions in deeper voices. They had yet a third reaction for the calls of birds they did not know.
3. Grey Parrots
Grey parrots can reason as well as three-year-old humans, as Mindy Townsend has written on Care2. When presented with two canisters and shown that one was empty, then “given the chance to choose one or the other,” they reliably picked the other one. Scientists performed more complicated versions of this study with the same result. The birds were showing “abstract, inferential thinking” by figuring out that if one is empty, the other has food in it. Humans can’t do that before age three.
Yes, squirrels are smart. They “put on elaborate shows” in which they pretend they are hiding food “to thwart would-be thieves.” When squirrels saw human researchers stealing their peanuts, they faked hiding even more food. This deception involves planning and a concept of what is happening in others’ minds — the squirrels are thinking about what may happen in the future (theft of their food), and about what observers are seeing and deducing (that there will be food where the squirrel is digging).
So there to all the squirrel haters, and especially to the wing nuts who held the “Hazard County Squirrel Slam” last weekend in upstate New York, where they awarded prizes for shooting and killing squirrels.
Of course elephants have to be on any list of smart animals. They have proved their intelligence time and again. But here is one you may not have heard: they can sniff out the scents “of up to 30 absent members of their family” and build a mental map of where they are. Can you keep track of where 30 of your relatives are at any given time?
The latest revelation: chimpanzees have better short-term memory than humans. Not just good short-term memory. Not even just as good as ours. Better. They have a stronger mental ability than humans do.
The study, reported in Huff Post Science, flashed the numbers 1 through 9 randomly on a screen. Chimpanzee Ayumu “was able to recall the exact sequence and location of each number.”
When researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa showed a video of the experiment “to a room of scientists and journalists, murmurs of amazement were heard. ‘Don’t worry, nobody can do it,’ Matsuzawa said… ‘It’s impossible for you.’”
Chimp Ayumu has also learned the numbers 1 through 19 and what order they go in.
Pigs can learn to use a joystick to move a cursor to a target and can distinguish among a child’s various scribblings. Their intelligence is akin to that of chimpanzees. Comparing them to humans doesn’t come out that well for us: “even piglets only a few hours old will leave the nest to relieve themselves.” How long were your kids in diapers?
According to National Geographic, research now suggests that crows “share with humans several hallmarks of higher intelligence, including tool use and sophisticated social behavior.” Crows play tricks on each other, and different families have their own dialects. A nature writer describing one experiment on the birds writes that they are “in a class with us as toolmakers,” better even than chimps.
There is more going on behind animals’ eyes than we have given them credit for. Having learned more about their mental and social intelligence, it is time to reevaluate how we treat them.
- by Kristina Chew
- October 26, 2012
NOC was the name of a white whale caught off the Pacific coast of Canada in 1977. Until his death five years ago, NOC lived in an open-air tank at the US National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, along with a group of dolphins; he also socialized with two female white whales. In 1984, NOC started talking with a human voice.
Before realizing that NOC was talking, the scientists thought they heard the sound of people chatting as if at a distance and “just out of range for our understanding,” from a tank that held whales and dolphins. As noted in Current Biology (pdf), the scientists heard these “conversations” several times before tracing them to NOC:
The whale was exposed to speech not only from humans at the surface — it was present at times when divers used surface-to-diver communication equipment… The whale was recognized as the source of the speech-like sounds when a diver surfaced outside this whale’s enclosure and asked “Who told me to get out?” Our observations led us to conclude the “out” which was repeated several times came from NOC.
NOC was seeking to mimic human voices, the scientists say. They recorded NOC’s sounds both when he was underwater and when he surfaced for the next several years.
An acoustic analysis revealed that NOC’s human voice was several octaves below typical whale sounds which include echolocation clicks and whistles (that are actually fast vibrations). The scientists “trained” NOC to speak when they requested him to do so. They also figured out how he produced human sounds, by adjusting the pressure and blowing air through his nose rather than through his larynx as humans do.
After four years, when NOC reached his maturity, he stopped making the human sounds, perhaps because he lost either the interest or the ability. He did remain “quite vocal,” the scientists say, producing echolocation pulses and also “various pulse burst sounds previously described as ‘squawks, rasps, yelps or barks.’”
What was so remarkable about NOC’s sounds was that he made them spontaneously, without any human instigation. The scientists note other examples of white whales producing sounds resembling human speech,
The first to study white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) sounds in the wild, Schevill and Lawrence  wrote that “occasionally the calls would suggest a crowd of children shouting in the distance”. Fish and Mowbary  described sound types and reviewed past descriptions of sounds from this vociferous species. At Vancouver Aquarium, Canada, keepers suggested that a white whale about 15 years of age, uttered his name “Lagosi”. Other utterances were not perceptible, being described as “garbled human voice, or Russian, or similar to Chinese” by R.L. Eaton in a self-published account in 1979.
I’ve listened to the recordings quite a few times: it is uncanny, wondrous and poignant to hear the voice of NOC.
In his many years living among humans, was NOC trying to “make contact”? What motivated him to start, and to stop, talking in a human voice — did he conclude that the effort to speak the way humans did was not worth it?
When NOC said, as the diver reported, “out,” was he trying to tell the scientists what he wanted?
Note: While visiting the Vancouver Aqarium in 2004 I made the acquaintance of a Beluga Whale who befriended me after the show that they were required to perform. Honestly, it felt like I was in the presence of a profound sentient being and was deeply honored that it spent about 30 minutes hanging out with me at the edge of the pool as we “vibed” each other with love. It’s one of those AWESOME experiences you never forget…
Mon, 18 Feb 2013
Millions of birds have descended on a small Kentucky city this winter, fouling the landscape, scaring pets and raising the risk for disease in a real-life version of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film, The Birds.
The blackbirds and European starlings blacken the sky of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, before roosting at dusk, turn the landscape white with bird poop, and the disease they carry can kill a dog and sicken humans.
“I have seen them come in, and there are enough that if the sun is just right, they’ll cloud your vision of the sun,” said Hopkinsville-Christian County historian William Turner. “I estimate there are millions of them.”
David Chiles, president of the Little River Audubon Society, said the fact that migratory flocks are roosting in the city rather than flying further south is tied to climate warming.
“The weather, the climate plays a big role,” said Chiles, the bird enthusiast who also teaches biology at Hopkinsville High School.
“They somehow establish a roost south of where the ground is frozen solid,” he explained. “They are ground feeders, feeding on leftover crops and insects. If the fields are frozen solid, they can’t feed.”
Although the birds have not turned on humans as in the classic 1963 Hitchcock movie featuring vicious attacks on people in a small northern California town, the city has taken defensive measures.
The south-central Kentucky city of 35,000 people, about an hour north of Nashville, has hired a pest control company to get rid of the interlopers.
Henry Jako, general manager of McGee Pest Control, said crews use air cannons and “bird-bangers” – similar to bottle rocket fireworks aimed into the trees where the birds roost.
The artillery attacks are disturbing some locals as well as the birds.
“It scares my little dog to death,” said Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble. “I don’t know what it does other than move the birds from one tree to the next.”
Jako said that in the worst-affected neighborhoods, multiple cannons and consecutive blasts are being used to keep the birds moving.
When they fly away, the birds leave behind a huge volume of excrement.
“I’ve got an apple tree that has almost turned white,” Tribble said. “Any vehicle parked outside is covered up. I guess it’s good for folks that have car washes.”
Historian Turner said that the blackbird invasion this year is the worst he’s witnessed since the late 1970s, when Hopkinsville suffered a similar bird blitz.
“We aren’t seeing the temperatures go as low as zero like we used to. Now we very often don’t even see temperatures in the teens around here,” Jako said. “If the birds are comfortable, they are going to stay around,” he added.
The birds also pose a serious health hazard because their droppings can carry a fungal disease called histoplasmosis, which can cause lung infections and symptoms similar to pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control website.
“It does become a matter of public health,” said Dr. Wade Northington, director of the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center, an animal disease diagnostic facility whose territory covers a 322 kilometre radius from Hopkinsville, including parts of Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana.
“The blackbirds are able to harbor this organism … so it can be shed in their droppings and it becomes a problem, especially where they tend to roost in extremely high numbers,” he said.
It can cause illness in humans, and is particularly dangerous for people with compromised immune systems or respiratory ailments, he said. It can be fatal for canines.
Turner, who suffered histoplasmosis decades ago after excavating family property that once held a chicken coop, describes the disease as debilitating. “I didn’t have any energy, and I didn’t have much appetite and lost weight,” he said.
The droppings contaminate the soil, making it unhealthy for years. It is a worry for dog owners, said Northington.
“It can be very expensive and take months to get it arrested and get an animal cured from it,” Northington said. “The disease is very prevalent in our area.”