Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Can The Birds Tell Us?

This post is a little mystical for Vault-Co.

I put it up because it correlates with what I have noticed completely independently lately. No, I'm not turning into one of those stock indian shaman characters in horror movies. I've noticed lots of things recently concerning birds.

Birds are acting truly weird.

I've seen flocks in strange places, doing strange things. The locals in Australia say it's hunger driving them into areas en masse they might not normally migrate to. From the drought. Only it's likely not hunger - there is plenty for them to eat, almost everywhere. Maybe it's a lack of fresh water ... only there is no shortage of that, either, certainly not enough to bring them right into populated areas. Big canals and rivers and dams are all over the hinterland, far from the urban centers.

They suddenly set down in public places in huge flocks. They often perch close to people, often so brazen it's disturbing to watch them. Sometimes they hover in patterns near where humans are gathered, despite vast spreads of forest only a few minutes away.

A really large and apparently fearless Kookaburra landed on the balcony a couple weeks back and refused to move no matter how closely we approached it. It looked at us with what might be described as complete indifference. My children were on the verge of petting it and it barely took any notice of them. It was kind of spooky and we told them to leave it alone. We worried it might be sick or diseased and maybe sluggish as a result. It finally took off, quite chipper, in it's own good time.

No, I have no idea what this means. None whatsoever. It has creeped me out quite a few times and I could not quite put my finger on what was bothering me. For the most part I have not been a curious observer of birds for the past four decades. It's only in the past year I have paid attention because their behaviour was so bizarre it was impossible to ignore.

Any ideas, feedback appreciated.


Chesterton said...

I can think of a couple of possible reasons.

The most likely is that they've simply figured out that cities are better places to roost than the wilderness. Cities tend to be ~10 degrees F warmer, offer easier access to food for omnivores, and are actually safer than the wilderness since crow hunting is illegal in cities and natural predictors are rarer (Great Horned Owls for crows, not sure about kookaburras).

Crows and other corvids have always been curious and investigative birds. They're incredibly intelligent and have great memories, so it would not surprise me if they've figured all of this out, in some basic, instinctual sense.

With all of the chatter lately from religious leaders about the last of the last days and kraptures and whatnot and I'm not surprised the people on that website you linked to are talking about how crows seem to be demon possessed as of late. It's not that crows are acting any stranger than they ever have -- it's just that people are more likely to notice and exaggerate their naturally strange behavior when looking for signs of the end times.

Anyway, that's one possibility. Another is that their behavior is actually altered significantly -- the cause of which can be any number of things. A new parasite originating in those toxic oceans that infects omnivorous birds such as crows and kookaburras? Some forms of heavy metals poisoning have been known to affect the behavior of birds, could there be more such pollutants in their water or food supply? Could the onset of geomagnetic reversal be affecting them in some way? Birds do use the magnetic poles for navigation.

Your guess is as good as mine until someone actually finds and characterizes new pathological trends amongst these birds.

Anonymous said...

The kookaburra was probably pissed off that you didn't feed it. If it comes around again give it some mince or a sausage and it'll leave a lot happier.

People feed them and they get almost domesticated. They're renowned for it. Its current "family" might be away or just not providing at the moment for whatever reason, so it's going looking for other suckers.

Dunno about the other stuff. We get massive flocks of cockatoos and corellas through here quite regularly.


Texas Arcane said...

Both comments were excellent!

One thing I was too tired to point out last night, as mentioned by chesterton - birds have unusual amounts of organic magnetic iron deposited in their brains for use in migration referencing the Earth's magnetic field.

They've been documented time and time again as the first symptom that major geological events are underway. Before earthquakes and big plasma storms from the Sun, they are observed to be acting oddly for days/weeks beforehand. The "confusion" spoken of in this link and other places is established by scientific studies to indicate they are disoriented by large shifts in the Earth's magnetic field, including things like flying into car grills and aggressive behaviours amongst themselves and sometimes towards people.


Anonymous said...

Most birds have something similar to a Jacobsen's organ in their head which allows them to navigate using the Earth's magnetism.

Perhaps the weakening gaussian field of Earth is causing some sort of behavioral re-wiring?

I've noticed some large groups of Grackles in Northern Illinois doing similar behavioral patterns a few years ago; very strange.