Monday, August 22, 2016

Readers Write . . .


From Jeffrey M, in respect of my post that public wedding proposals feel manipulative and a form of unfair pressure:
Otto -  
Regarding public wedding proposals: Many years ago, my then-girlfriend and I were out to dinner with another couple in a crowded restaurant in Chicago. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. The whole restaurant clapped for us and we were treated to the restaurant’s famous dessert. Several months later when we were deciding to end the relationship, the public proposal was thrown back at me. I distinctly recall her saying “How could I say no in front of all those people?” 
Sometimes a “yes” can turn into a “no” many months later. 
From Wayne B in respect of the same subject:
I agree with your comments Otto about making a marriage proposal a public spectacle maybe even trying to intimidate your friend to having to accept.  
A recent public proposal in a US sports event ended with the girl saying NO and walked away embarrassing the man and in many ways making the man looking stupid. This is a very personal and private matter that should be handled with carefully with love. 

Sue P sent me some items about parrots, a Norwegian Blue and he’s dead. No he’s not, he’s just resting

Item #1:

Swift parrots migrate 1,000km more during drought

New research into the winter migration of Tasmania's swift parrots has found the population migrates up to 1,000 kilometres further north from their central Victorian habitats during drought years to concentrate on the coast of New South Wales. Using eight years of data collected by volunteers from BirdLife Australia, researchers for the first time have worked out exactly how far the critically endangered Swift Parrots need to travel to find food after consecutive years of drought. Lead researcher Dr Debbie Saunders from The Australian National University (ANU) said the findings highlighted the need to protect a network of habitats across their winter range to enable them to adapt to extreme and variable weather conditions.

"Every year the birds migrate north from Tasmania, and search far and wide across south-eastern mainland Australia to find eucalypt nectar sources that will sustain them throughout the winter," said Dr Saunders, from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society. She said the birds return to the same places, although it could be up to seven years between visits, with the number of birds migrating to an area dependent on the variable weather and eucalypt flowering cycles. "So when Victoria has a prolonged drought, the birds are travelling up to 1,000 kilometres on top of the hundreds of kilometres they have already travelled," she said. "A number of regions across NSW are really important for the species. The central coast is the drought refuge habitat, and places like the Riverina are where birds go every year." Dr Saunders said the data from BirdLife volunteers gave researchers an insight into bird populations and their winter migration range on a new scale.

Item #2:

Baby boom for one of the world’s rarest parrots

The world's rarest (and arguably most interesting!) parrot is on the rebound thanks to a very productive breeding season. The population of New Zealand's oddball "owl parrot", the kakapo, has been given a major boost with the addition of 33 newly hatched chicks. The species is incredibly rare – it's estimated that just 125 adults exist in the wild.

Back in the 1970s, the situation looked even worse: kakapo numbers were so low that experts feared the species would not survive. Just 18 birds were known to exist – and they were all male. In a move to save the parrot from extinction, conservationists searched desperately for any signs of another population – one containing females. And against all odds, they found one hiding out on remote Stewart Island, where new breeding stock was discovered. Hunted by feral cats, the Stewart Island birds were also in trouble, so the population was relocated to safety on three predator-free islands: nearby Whenua Hou (or Codfish) Island, Anchor Island in southwest Fiordland and Hauturu (Little Barrier) Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

Since the 1990s, the New Zealand Department of Conservation's Kākāpō Recovery programme has been working to ensure the parrots continue to bounce back. "In 1990, only one bird survived from mainland New Zealand to join the recovery programme, whilst the other 50 kakapo originated from Stewart Island. This mainland bird, named Richard Henry, was genetically distinct, and bore three offspring in 1998," Kakapo Recovery's Deidre Vercoe tells the BBC. Keeping the family name alive and well, Richard Henry's daughter, Kuia, produced six eggs of her own this year, four of which resulted in chicks. "We’re thrilled that Richard Henry's incredibly important genes have been passed on to the next generation," Vercoe adds.

Besides being the world's only flightless parrot, the kakapo has a lot of other quirks on its resume – including a very unusual mating ritual. It's also the heaviest of the world's parrot species and an achiever in the longevity stakes – some kakapos have lived for an impressive 120 years. But as is the case with many long-living solitary animals, the birds also have a long reproductive cycle, making it tough for their numbers to recover.


For you, Sue:

David received a parrot for his birthday. This parrot was fully grown with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive. Those that weren't expletives were, to say the least, rude.

David tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything that came to mind. Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird, the bird got worse. He shook the bird, and the bird got madder and ruder. 

Finally, in a moment of desperation, David put the parrot in the freezer. For a few moments he heard the bird squawking, kicking, and screaming, and then, suddenly, all was quiet. 

David was frightened that he might have actually hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto David's extended arm and said, "I'm sorry that I offended you with my language and actions. I ask for your forgiveness. I will try to check my behaviour..." 

David was astounded at the bird's change in attitude and was about to ask what changed him when the parrot continued, "May I ask what the chicken did?"

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