Monday, June 25, 2007


A funny video of two chickens breaking up a fight between two rabbits. They really put some whup-ass on those naughty bunnies.

As the chickens walk off at the end, it looks like they're saying "well, our work here is done."

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Saturday, Aziza had her checkup to see how her respiratory illness is resolving. And guess what? The x-ray was totally clear! So she is off the terbenefine now.

She will still be getting hormone shots, so she doesn't make herself ill trying to make more eggs, but her lungs and air sacs are clear of fungal infiltrates. The vet did note that she seems to have some arthritis in her left knee, and I did notice around February that she was starting to rest more on her right leg...but I thought it was due to her hernia bothering her. Anyway, this s mostly very good news, now we just have to get her weight stabilized, but she has been acting much more like her old self recently. She's also molting in a whole bunch of new feathers, so she has been very affectionate, wanting help preening the feathers she can't reach on her head.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

parrot update

As far as the domestic front goes, Aziza is doing a lot better, though she still needs to put on some weight. I am covering her at night, and trying to figure out a schedule so that she only gets 10 hours of sunlight per day. On the 23rd, she gets another x-ray to see if her respiratory infection has resolved.

The other birds are good. Kianga has been cracking me up, exclaiming "woo!" at oh-so-appropriate moments. We are 3/5 done with the yearly project of dismantling and scrubbing down the birds' cages, toys and perches; the remaining two will be done as the weekend weather cooperates (it is no fun spraying bird shit on a cold day, let me tell you).

As has been usual now for the last 6 months, the birds have been eating well. Every morning and afternoon, they get several tablespoons of a mixture on top of a bed of Roudybush pellets. The mixture is bird bread, bean mix, chopped fruit, and a few teaspoons of Harrison's mash, all mixed together. The bird bread is a low-cal corn bread that includes edamame, corn, chopped spinach and diced peeled yam, sometimes with blueberries added. The bean mix is a dry chili mix purchased from the bulk section, soaked overnight and then cooked with split peas, brown rice, raisins, and date pieces. We crumble a piece of bird bread into a container, add a few spoons of bean mix, pop that in the microwave to warm it, add the mash and a few spoons of fruit, then mix it all up before dishing it out on top of the pellets. And yes, some of them actually even eat the pellets too. They also get Nutriberries (though not for long, as the vet has discouraged this, so I'm using up the last container), corn on the cob, and occasionally, some of what we're eating (cooked pasta or veggies). The fruit can include apples, oranges, kiwi, mango, papaya or grapes, depending on what is in season. I'm going to have the best fed parrots evah. The best thing is how excited the get when they are waiting to be fed, and the happy munching sounds that ensue.

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giant birdlike dinosaurs found

Now this would have been one scary bird:

The remains of a giant, birdlike dinosaur as tall as the formidable tyrannosaur have been found in China, a surprising discovery that indicates a more complicated evolutionary process for birds than originally thought, scientists said Wednesday.

Fossilized bones uncovered in the Erlian Basin of northern China's Inner Mongolia region show that the specimen was about 26 feet long, 16 feet tall and weighed 3,000 pounds, said Xu Xing, a paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology in Beijing.

Here, chickie chickie!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

this makes me mad

Fateful Voice of a Generation Still Drowns Out Real Science

Look. Real science tells us that even now, 35 years after DDT use was restricted in the US, we are still finding residues in marine animals that may be detrimental to their health (and we won't even talk about PCBs). We thoughtlessly sprayed persistent and extremely biologically active chemicals around with little thought to the consequences. If Rachel Carson provided a vision of what those consequences might look like if we continued our careless behavior, I have no problem with it. And if Tierney is worried that Carson's work was not scientifically written (sounds like he's going for the 'hysterical woman' angle that has always been used to criticize her), he need look no further than Our Stolen Future to get a similar message with plenty of real science to back it up. The old canard recently mentioned on the Senate floor, and even printed in newspapers, that the ban on DDT has killed millions of African children is just not true. DDT continues to be used in mosquito netting and even spraying to control malaria in many countries, though unfortunately, indiscriminate past usage has made many mosquitoes resistant.

Yes, Mr. Tierney, the chemicals we put into the environment have an effect on living systems that we depend on for our very existence on this planet. I am not anti-chemical, but the examples of DDT and antibiotics amply demonstrate that we humans don't tend to be very responsible about our use of chemicals. Insects have short life spans and quickly developed resistance to DDT, while birds, especially raptors, were unable to adapt to the profound hormonal effects and some (peregrine falcons, bald eagles) were nearly exterminated on this continent. With antibiotics, we have a similar story as now we have scary multi-drug-resistant strains of staph, tuberculosis, and other disease-causing organisms; the TB has been headline news, while at the same time resistant staph kills at least hundreds in this country every year (and why do we have to go to the BBC to read about this?).

It's pretty disappointing to see that the NYT would be joining in the PR pile-on that has been showing up around the anniversary of Rachel Carson's birth - and make no mistake, chemical industry PR is just what this is about.