25 thoughts on “January 31, 2017: Meh”

  1. cc to Rhu_Ru: Thanks to a tip in your Pledge Drive post I was able to use my institution's access to one of the major genealogical websites to save a photo of some relatives, including my great-grandmother, prior to emigration. Unless I have forgotten a photo that was in her house when I was a kid, I never had seen a picture of her parents or her brother, who was barred from entry, before last night.

    1. I've seen fewer since the "Polar Vortex" winter of 2013-14. I assume a larger-than-usual number of those with the predisposition to not migrate perished in the extreme cold of that winter, which also prevented them from having as many offspring with that predisposition.
      I have the same theory about Blue Jays and Cedar Waxwings. I found all three in general abundance in winters around my house up until that winter, and they've been scarce and erratic since.

        1. It's just a drop in the wintering population. No noticeable change in breeding-season and migration numbers. Hence my speculation.
          With Blue Jays, they're a more social creature with learned patterns, so there could be some memory of the previous winter (though I doubt that), or they could have gone south partway into the winter and started the migration pattern.
          Similarly, it could be that the loss of some number of the non-migrant individuals made those that survived more likely to merge flocks/families with those that migrate, and to follow them south the next fall.

          Robins flock for migration but don't have family units that stay together (males typically migrate less far than females, to get back quicker and establish territories), so there's less a social dynamic there.
          TBH, I just don't understand Robins. They seem to defy my attempts at anthropomorphizing. So I just assume flocking and migration are instinctual.

            1. As most of the US lies in the area where Robins should be present all winter, I don't get how that concept ever caught on.
              And the Robins* of Europe aren't migratory at all (or make a slight retreat from their northernmost range), so that's not where it came from, either.

              *unrelated. America's Robins are actually Thrushes, as are Europe's Blackbirds.
              At the same time, America's Blackbirds are their own family. That family includes our Orioles (unrelated to the old-world Orioles, which are closer to Starlings), and Meadowlarks (unrelated to true Larks**).

              **Only one Lark is native to the New World: the Horned Lark of just about every open space from Alaska and Nunavut through Mexico. And Skylarks have been introduced to Vancouver Island off British Columbia, and have occurred as natural vagrants to Alaska and maybe the west coast.

              1. On the topic of birds and confusing names . . .

                Last weekend Mr. NaCl took the boys to Silverwood Park and he told them they might get to see a Great Horned Owl in a nesting box. They did, indeed, see the owl, but the peperoncino (who is 3) was a bit confused because he was under the impression that the owl would have actual horns.

                1. They do have actual horns.

                  They just keep them somewhere else. Because let's see you fit a trumpet or saxophone into a nesting box.

    1. Good luck to him. I'll be surprised if he can both stay healthy and be effective, but it would be a pleasant surprise.

  2. Friend of mine ran 100 miles this last weekend (Sat-Sun, 22 hrs 'ish). It's her 4th time. Awesome.

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