Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Aves

The Public Garden’s Swans Are Back!

This being Boston, we are completely cool with lesbian swans cohabitating in public. And little duckies, this is your doom: Seriously, I’m curious if they hunt ducklings this year (and now that I have a snazzy new iPhone, I’ll try to get video if they do).

No, I’m not referring to the Radical Homosexual Pirate Menance. I’m referring to Boston’s ongoing fight with the galliform hordes. Unspeakable, I tell you.

Have the Turkeys No Decency?

Just when we thought the Turkey Menace had disappeared, they’re back: Thanksgiving II: The Revenge A Gardner Road [Brookline, MA] man told police that he and his 9-month-old son were “surrounded and attacked by six turkeys” at about 12:14 p.m. on Dec. 12. Police offered to dispatch EMS to treat any injuries, but EMS was…

(from here) One of the models for the evolution of new species is allopatric speciation, where a small isolated population diverges from a larger ancestral population. Many of these peripheral populations become extinct, but some persist and give rise to new species if they can remain reproductively isolated (unable to breed with each other). Lots…

More on the Public Garden’s Swan Wars

Last week, I described how the pair of swans living on Boston’s Public Garden’s Lagoon* have a predilection for attacking ducklings. Last night, the swans were at it again. But last night, this took a very sinister turn: I think Juliet got a duckling. I could have counted wrong, but I think the Lagoon now…

I need some help from ‘swanologists.’ So do Boston’s ducklings. In the middle of Boston’s Public Garden, there is a large pond (although for some reason it’s called a lagoon, even though it’s not a lagoon). Every year, two swans, Romeo and Juliet, are brought to the Lagoon and released to build a nest (it…

More Brutal Turkey Terrorism

On this Patriot’s Day, we must never forget that the Heroic Struggle Against Our Demonic Turkey Overlords has not abated. Now they are assaulting the basic workings of our government: click to embiggen (from here) Preventing the Boston Transportation Department from the appointed rounds! (and Intelligent Designer knows, we need the revenue). Have they no…

Heavy Metal Zebra Finches

Admittedly, that would be a great name for a band, but, by way of Yves Smith, I came across this hysterical video of zebra finches (it gets really good past the one minute mark):

Happy Thanksgiving

Remember that it is far better to eat turkey than to be eaten by them… On a more serious note, if you have enough to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, consider giving to your local food bank. If you’re in the Boston area, these people do good work.

Tweet? (and not the internet kind). At the recent ASM meeting, I saw a poster presented by Mark Schroeder of Ohio Wesleyan University about the prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococci in wild song birds (the staphylococci include several potential pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermis).