Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tame Wildlife

As I mentioned before, part of the company function last week was the "Bird Show" at Monte Casino which, if you ever have the opportunity, is well worth the effort to go and see. The most remarkable thing about the show, as Barry pointed out, was that these are wild birds that have the opportunity to fly away (the show is entirely outdoors) but that don't. I'm not sure if their wings are clipped but they get to fly at least 60m in a single flight so I would guess that there is plenty of opportunity to escape. The spotted eagle owl was very reluctant to come out of his hole in the tower since the last show (yesterday) he was mobbed by a whole bunch of smaller birds. The smaller birds often gang up on a lone predator and mob them, hopefully intimidating the predator and chasing it away. Anyway, the eagle owl was reluctant to say the least but when it did fly it was totally silent, even though it flew within half a meter of one's head one couldn't hear it at all. Great to see these large predator birds up close since one only normally sees them at a distance. Another interesting tit bit was the fact that the owls are the dumbest of the bird predators since their eyes take up something like 2/3 of their brain cavity. If humans were to have eyes in the same proportion as owls, our eyes would be the size of grapefruit. Next time someone of the opposite sex makes eyes at you with their big beautiful eyes, just remember the tale of the owl.

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