Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A round Tuit, backyard birds, and a talking whale

I spent another rainy afternoon watching my backyard birds, and trying to get a photo of the nuthatch with not much luck. But I did get a junco; a noisy photo, what with the poor light, but better than none.

Junco and finch and sunflower seeds

Elegant robin back, with creeping Jenny and dying maple leaves.

Finch again, watching me over her shoulder

Steller's Jay. Checked out the garden, took a drink, and left again. They never stay long.

I've been thinking. Rainy days are good for that. I remember that I used to do a weekly links post. I think I stopped when I could just retweet them instead, but it's not quite the same; I don't bother explaining why I'm passing them along, just lazily click, "Retweet", and forget about it. So I'll start up again here.

And for a long time, I've been wanting to do a post about the bloggers I find helpful or inspirational, but never get around to it.

Here's one. No more excuses.

I think I'll do it in bits and pieces, maybe one with every link post.

And while I'm on the topic, have you seen the talking whale video?

The study details the case of a white whale named NOC who began to mimic the human voice, presumably a result of vocal learning. ... "The whale's vocalizations often sounded as if two people were conversing in the distance," says Dr. Sam Ridgway, President of the National Marine Mammal Foundation. "These 'conversations' were heard several times before the whale was eventually identified as the source. In fact, we discovered it when a diver mistook the whale for a human voice giving him underwater directions." ... How this unique "mind" interacts with other animals and the ocean environment is a major challenge of our time.
And from the BBC:
"Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds," said Sam Ridgway, president of the National Marine Mammal Foundation and lead author on the paper.


  1. The "talking" whale is truly amazing. To some extent it reminds me of kids who try to "speak" a foreign language by mimicking the rhythms and some general syllabic sounds. Is this what we sound like to whales?

  2. Some day we'll discover that they've been orchestrating seriously complex things, hosting chat groups (underwater, natch), running sport competitions, and cultivating sea gardens. Once we get smart enough. Some day...

  3. Neat Jay, that's the first I ever heard of them. Funny that they pull the same trick as the Blue Jays at our feeder do by imitating hawks to scare away the little ones from the food. Jays are jerks...pretty jerks, though.

  4. biobabbler,
    I had to laugh at the "chat groups".


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