Tag Archives: Recreation

Baby quail falling in sewers

It wasn’t a pretty sight, so Bruce Hampson swung into action.

A large brood of quail — two adults and a host of tiny, fluffy babies — were walking near Hampson’s Wheeler Avenue home in Parksville when one of the youngsters suddenly disappeared from the line after falling through a sewer grate.

Hampson lifted the grate and saw there were four of the mini quail in distress. He saved three. One drowned.

“I don’t know how many have fallen through over the years,” said Hampson. “There should be something done — it doesn’t seem right.”

To that end, Hampson said he called the city, the SPCA and the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. He said he believes some inexpensive steel meshes of some sort could stop this from happening again.

“They are beautiful little birds,” he said. “It would be kind of nice to save them — they are so cute.”

The city doesn’t believe there’s much it can do about the situation.

“Good on him (Hampson) for taking the grate out and rescuing the little guys,” said City of Parksville spokesperson Debbie Tardiff.

The city has approximately 1,400 catch basins like the one that felled the tiny quail on Wheeler Avenue.

“Realistically, it is not manageable to run around and put screens on them,” said Tardiff.

Robin Campbell of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre also didn’t believe there’s much his organization could do about the issue.

“I’m sympathetic to the whole situation,” said Campbell. “It’s an ongoing problem, not necessarily quail but baby ducks.”

Source: http://www.pqbnews.com/news/212365351.html

I Believe I Can Fly

This is very cool, so I just had to share it with you.

Microlight pilot Christian Moullec went to extraordinary lengths in order to film birds in flight from up close. He hand-reared a brood of Barnacle Geese who now see him as their mother and follow him in flight.

The BBC One series Earthflight has filmed birds across the continents of the world using a variety of innovative techniques.  This is just one of them.

Such a wonderful series!

Water off a ducks back

Although ducks aren’t especially heavy creatures, without a few key characteristics they would probably be resting on the lake bottom rather than bobbing on top of it.

A special gland called the uropygial gland (or the preen gland) is one key physical trait that helps to keep ducks on top of the water. This gland, located at the base of their tail, produces an oil that the ducks spread over their bodies to make their feathers water-repellent. Since duck feathers resist getting saturated with water, the birds weigh less than they would if their feathers absorbed that water. Some people even suggest that without their uropygial gland to render them waterproof, ducks would drown.

In addition to their waterproofing abilities, duck feathers possess another quality that helps them to float: They trap air. The birds’ feathers are tightly interlocked with a system of barbs that hold air in. You know those little “wings” kids wear on their arms in the pool to help them swim? Ducks practically have those built into their feathers. If they need to dive underwater for a quick snack, they just squeeze the air out by pressing in their feathers. They trap the air again soon after resurfacing and shaking off.

Ducks also have a system of internal air sacs that helps to keep them buoyant. They keep these sacs filled with air unless they want to dive under the water, at which point they squeeze the air out. The sacs, which include the duck’s lungs and are located along the length of the duck’s central body, are the equivalent of having miniature helium balloons inside.

Finally, ducks, like many other bird species, also possess hollow bones. You may already know that hollow bones help flying birds like cardinals and hawks achieve flight. The hollow bones are strong yet incredibly light, allowing them to lift off the ground with ease. This same lightness helps birds like ducks to float (and fly).

In fact, since many other bird species share several of the same characteristics that help ducks to float, such as a waterproofing gland and hollow bones, these species should theoretically float as well. Indeed, researchers studying the effects of oil spills on bird mortality found that approximately 90 percent of birds float for at least two weeks if they die at sea.

Ducks, however, are obviously much better at it. It doesn’t take much research to know that 100 percent of them manage to float for much longer spans of time.

Source: http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/birds/duck-float1.htm

Curiouser and curiouser

I saw this and had to share it with you.  Just what are the cats and chickens thinking I wonder?  Let me out?  Let me in?  Let me at em (as the cat licks it’s lips)?  Click on the picture to view the original article.

cats and hens looking at each other

Source: curiouser and curiouser.

What’s with the wattle?

A bird‘s wattle, like its comb, can help to dissipate heat. The thin, elastic protuberances that hang down from a turkey’s lower jaw allow for the rapid transfer of energy across the skin. Birds don’t have any sweat glands, and most of their bodies are covered with a thick and well-insulating coat of feathers. When it gets really hot out, blood flow increases to those parts of their bodies that are exposed to the air, like the wattle, the comb (a growth at the top of the head), the snood (flaps of skin hanging over the bill), and the feet. Birds can also cool off by expelling water vapor. That is to say, they pant like dogs.

Wattles may be cool, but they’re also manly. Male turkeys and chickens have larger and brighter wattles than females, and the size of the protuberance varies with testosterone levels. This gender dimorphism is strikingly displayed among those unusual chickens (about 1 in 10,000) that develop as male on one side of their bodies and female on the other: The masculine half of the wattle hangs much lower. Environmental factors can also affect wattle size. A male bird, for example, might experience wattle shrinkage after losing status in his social group.

Initial research on chickens, turkeys, and their ilk found that hens strongly prefer a male with a big and colorful comb but don’t seem so turned on by the size or floppiness of his wattle. That doesn’t mean the latter is irrelevant to sex: Male birds of some species engage in a wattle-shaking courtship dance called “tidbitting.” This includes three distinct head movements—the “twitch,” the “long bob,” and the “short bob”—along with the emission of various noises and the repeated picking up and dropping of a morsel of food. Although hens are drawn to these displays on their own terms, wattles seem to make the dance even more attractive.

In 2009, a team of scientists in Australia demonstrated this fact by presenting two dozen Sebright hens with a series of computer-animated videos. In some cases, a virtual male was shown tidbitting with a normal wattle; in others, the wattle was either absent, rigid, or extra-floppy. Then the researchers measured the female response to this turkey porn. (There are some video clips at the bottom of this write-up.) It turned out that the hens were more interested in the rigid and normal wattles, which seemed to make the whole tidbitting routine more conspicuous. According to the researchers, these protuberances served to enhance “signal efficacy” for the courtship dance, in the way mascara might enhance some flirty eye contact.

In any case, a wattle isn’t always a good thing for a bird. Chickens kept in cold weather are most susceptible to frostbite in their wattles and combs. That’s why some farmers engage in a practice called “dubbing“: They slice off the bird’s head appendages with a pair of sharp scissors.

Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2010/11/can_somebody_explain_to_me_what_the_whole_wattle_things_about.html

How Much Feed Does a Chicken Eat?

A common question among poultry owners, especially those new to raising birds, is “How much do my birds eat, so I know how much feed to buy?”.
Below are some general guidelines to go by, keeping in mind that a variety of factors, from weather to other available food sources, can influence the exact amount of prepared feed your birds will consume.

Feeding amounts for newly hatched birds:

Type of Bird Feeding period Total amount of feed
Layer chicks First 10 weeks 9-10 lbs per bird
Broiler chicks (based on Cornish Game Birds) First 6 weeks 8-9 lbs per bird
Turkeys First 12 weeks 72 lbs per bird
Geese First 8 weeks 53 lbs per bird
Ducks First 8 weeks 22 lbs per bird
Gamebirds First 8 weeks 9 lbs per bird

Feeding amounts for laying birds:

Type of Bird Total amount of feed
Chickens 1.5 lbs per bird per week
Turkeys 4 – 5 lbs per bird per week
Geese 3 lbs per bird per week
Gamebirds 1 – 1.5 lbs per bird per week

Source: http://scoopfromthecoop.nutrenaworld.com/how-much-feed-does-a-chicken-eat/