This is just one concept that I have a problem with. The first paragraph goes into great detail explaining how incredible the sensory systems of these birds are, how they can feel atmospheric air currents created by flockmates and can instantanously change flight direction to avoid collision, no matter how closely they fly. It is then followed by a statement claiming it is now a system that is easily corrupted and it is no longer such a miraculous ability. If it is that easy to throw off then why are they not crashing into each other? It's either an exceptional ability or it is not. I can easily believe the first part but have difficulty with the latter. Perhaps researchers were able to disrupt the birds and startle them to death under captive conditions but I want to see this theory be replicated in the field where thousands of birds are literally scared to death at the same instant. In vitro and in situ conditons, and the organism's reactions in each, are very different things.
Originally Posted by Chikz
Along the same thought that Evy mentioned, if fireworks were such a hazard then surely we would see more mass deaths at all the Disney parks and a full-on blood bath on July 4th. Many of the suggested explanantions happen all the time and are not associated with mass die-offs as one would expect if they were, in fact, a real possible cause.
I don't see a discrepency, jungle. The shock waves of a sonic boom, or a sudden powerful wind, disrupts the atmosphere in ways even we can perceive. To a flock of birds, the effect can be devastating. They can have a fine-tuned system, but even so, an extreme situation that is "not much" to us, can bollux their precision.
The neuro "wiring" that makes them so precise, also makes them hypersensitive to -extreme- disruptions, not the daily "mundane" stuff like a hawk attack.
The discrepancy is that these stimuli- a sudden powerful wind, happen all the time. We are not finding mass deaths all the time. I cannot see how an animal can evolve in an environment, and be so successful that they can number in the billions, yet be so succeptible to that environment that something as mundane as a gust of wind will kill thousands of them instantaneously and drop them on a dime. It does not make biological sense.
In order for this to be a valid explanation, one would be forced to accept both of the following: 1) Thousands of these birds could experience instant death from a shock of loud noise or gust of wind while thousands are unaffected. 2) These same loud noises and gusts of wind that happen quite frequently normally do not have this effect otherwise we would be seeing this type of thing all the time.
In order to explain the phenomina's presence you must also explain it's absence.
I am also curious to know what the methodology was that generated the data that shows these birds to be so fragile and vulnerable to their environment. Was this actually demonstrated in the field (and how) or was it extrapolated from behaviors witnessed in the lab in flights or wind tunnels?
I have to agree Patrick I grew up on a large fruit farm and we used explosive noise makers trying to keep the birds from the soft fruits when they were near ripe. After the first week the only thing they scared off were the humans that were helping themselves to our fruit. We had one that went to law enforcement claiming we were using shotguns as a scare device.
Originally Posted by Patrick
It's not my hypothesis that the birds in the mass die-offs were so fragile and vulnerable that they "fainted dead away," but that the phenomenon that served as the catalyst was extreme enough to create sufficient shockwaves to disrupt the birds' flight, cause mass panic and disorientation, and cause them to collide with one another and with any other obstacles in their flight path. The birds' "high-strung" and refined nervous systems, which serve a vital function in flight dynamics as well as predator evasion, in this case may have given them a level of vulnerability that contributed to the event, however.
As for the research I mentioned, I can only report what I observed myself back in the '70s, and it was just one small piece of research, the data for which was added to a larger collective later. What I observed was only for reaction times in perching birds such as starlings and weaver finches ("English sparrows"). A sensor-rigged perch and low levels of electric shock were used as the stimulus to measure the reaction speeds.
The V-formation reasearch, however, was done in the field, using a model rocket launcher (anyone remember Estes?) and a video camera mounted on the rocket. The ornithologist and his assistant sought out areas where flocks of Canada geese were hanging out, waited until one of the flocks took off, and launched the rocket-camera into the flock mid-air.
The first round of cameras-in-the air were not successful, but eventually they started getting some useful footage, if I recall correctly. But of the early attempts, my favorite film is one where you see a cloud of smoke, then just air, then a goose's face as the cam-rock whizzes by it, then suddenly a 180-degree loop, then a spiralling, seasickness-inducing view of the ground that gets closer and closer and...SPLAT! Then you see a bug's eye view of a jungle of grass looming all around, then the feet of the assistant and a hand reaching down... lol! We used to show that at the Friday afternoon lab-assistant/grad student beer swillings.
Last edited by Chikz; 01-26-2011 at 07:24 PM.
It is AOL, so take it with a grain of salt, but I just found this:
Well, all interesting theories. I will share mine. What if the cause was not tested for or there is no test that would confirm the cause? Or maybe a bacteria,virus or parasite, when ingested could cause the same reaction at approximately the same time, given several minutes time span? After all, the metabolism of the small birds is very rapid. Or maybe a food poisoning not yet identified, or poison that escaped testing for or was never suspected, so no test was done to identify it. Human knowledge is limited and humans make mistakes. And who saw the birds? Is there anyone to collaborate the story other than the news media? Their stories often times remind me of the theatrics of the movies and TV shows. How much is real? How much is to sell advertising for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines? Looks like there may be more questions than answers.
I heard about this news that birds are falling but could not read the whole story.
Now with the help of the thread I get the whole story and the reasons of falling.
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Last edited by George; 07-16-2011 at 04:42 AM.
from the sky??
first time i hear about that
here where i live nothing like that happened, my 8 pigeons are fine
like all the other birds and cattle
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