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Why the chicken crossed the road. And how.

Why the chicken crossed the road. And how.

Bob GosfordJan 7, 2017

On Chickens: Chickens have the capacity to reason and make logical inferences. For example, chickens are capable of simple forms of transitive inference, a capability that humans develop at approximately the age of seven

Bird of the Week: Willy Wagtail -

Bird of the Week: Willy Wagtail - "where's my dinner Mum?"

Bob GosfordJan 2, 2017

The local pair of Willy Wagtails have taken advantage of the great season we are having in the centre this year and so far have raised two clutches, and I'll expect that, as prime examples of avian opportunism in the desert, they may raise another couple yet in this season.

Bug of the Week: Termites - the rise and fall of the alate kings and queens

Bug of the Week: Termites - the rise and fall of the alate kings and queens

Bob GosfordDec 22, 20162 Comments

Northern Australian and Central Desert languages have numerous words for insects that are eaten, used as medicine, or that indicate important phenomena in the immediate environment: Aung Si & Myfany Turpin, 2015.

'Troublemakers for fire' - Raptors spreading fire in Australian savanna woodlands

'Troublemakers for fire' - Raptors spreading fire in Australian savanna woodlands

Bob GosfordOct 1, 2016

Fire provides the opportunity for pyrophilic behaviour by some birds. Brown Falcons perch at the fire-front waiting for grasshoppers, frogs, snakes, lizards and small mammals. Whistling Kites and particularly Black Kites, Milvus migrans, spectacularly hawk around the curtain of flame, preying on grasshopper, cockroaches and other small fleeing animals. Local Aboriginal people believe that Brown Falcons and Black Kites set fires by carrying burning sticks to new locations and drop them into dry grass on unburnt grounds.

What was the first name for grasswrens?

What was the first name for grasswrens?

Bob GosfordAug 15, 2016

In Pitjantjatjara country we know that the local name for Rhipidura leucophrys is tjintir-tjintirpa. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the scientific name, if you’re musically inclined and have an ear for Australian bird songs, you might recognise tjintir-tjintirpa as an onomatopoeic rendition of the ratcheting call of the Willie Wagtail.

RIEL Seminar - Brown Falcon and Black Kite as propagators of fire in the Australian savanna

RIEL Seminar - Brown Falcon and Black Kite as propagators of fire in the Australian savanna

Bob GosfordAug 12, 2016

Anecdotal historical reports from qualified observers support the hypothesis that this is a hitherto-undocumented tool-using behavior that, if verified to satisfy the standards of Western ecologists, will have important ramifications for understanding pyrophytic landscape evolution as well as human-bird relationships.

Tool use in birds - on fishing Herons and Black Kites

Tool use in birds - on fishing Herons and Black Kites

Bob GosfordJun 26, 20161 Comment

"We think it is incredible this bird thought out the whole operation from catching a crab to converting into a bigger prey of a fish--and resisted the temptation to just eat the crab," Suzanne Hills and Chris Cromey.

Bird of the Week: Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis

Bird of the Week: Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis

Bob GosfordNov 11, 2015

En-route back to Mojave from Sacramento last Sunday I stopped in at the Merced National Wildlife Reserve, one of a chain of wildlife reserves throughout the extensive agricultural region of the Central Valley.

Ornithogenic Fire: Raptors as Propagators of Fire in the Australian Savanna

Ornithogenic Fire: Raptors as Propagators of Fire in the Australian Savanna

Bob GosfordNov 8, 2015

There is compelling evidence that at least two raptor species – the Brown Falcon and the Black Kite – act as propagators of fire within the Australian savanna woodlands and perhaps in other similar biomes elsewhere

Do these raptors spread fire in the Australian savanna?

Do these raptors spread fire in the Australian savanna?

Bob GosfordOct 13, 20154 Comments

Use of fire as a tool is normally considered to be restricted to humans, and hence to have played an extremely important role not only in human societal change but also in the large-scale modification of landscapes across the world. But what if animals other than humans exhibit pyrophilic behavior?

https://www.crikey.com.au/2015/10/13/do-these-raptors-spread-fire-in-the-australian-savanna/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

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