October 11, 2015

Looks like an hors d'oeuvre.

20 comments:

Gahrie said...

It is for a cat....

Coupe said...

hélas, le colibri est hors saison...

Bob R said...

Sunday morning thought trail: Ruby Throated -> Ruby Throated Sparrow -> Suite: Judy Blue Eyes -> Great Steven Stills bass line -> Have to ignore the lyrics and overcompressed guitars.

Anthony said...

It's stuff like that that gives me some hope for humanity after all.

EDH said...

I can picture a stoner happening upon that nest and smoking it whole in a bong.

Coupe said...

I heard my first hummingbird a few years ago. I was half asleep and I heard a tapping noise on my window and someone humming "Heathcliff, it's me -Cathy. Come home. I'm so cold! Let me into your window..."

As I was startled to half-death my wife peeked her head in the door and said "Bad dreams in the night?"

yikes, the humming, I can't go back to sleep...

OK, OK, today the sermon from Father O'Brien concerned people we love who are in purgatory, and how to release them to heaven. Especially important with Halloween coming soon.

Quaestor said...

I watched the linked video and a follow-on about hummingbirds in a wind tunnel. Both very interesting.

About nine years ago I attended and outdoor lecture series given by several ornithologists and wildlife specialists which include a full day dedicated to hummingbirds. The lecturer brought several feeders and some potted flowers with blooms the hummers like hoping to attract some during the lecture. He also brought some mist netting and banding gear. A mist net is an exceedingly fine nylon mesh which can trap birds (different gauge nets for different sized birds) without harming them. Prior to these lectures I had had experience with mist netting migrating raptors along the Atlantic Flyway. Those nets were pretty substantial, but the nets used to capture hummers are remarkable. It's hard to believe something so will-o-the-wisp fine is strong enough to support its own mass, let alone catch anything.

During the lecture at least two dozen birds visited the bait and were caught, and many more darted in and evaded capture. Several that were caught were caught at least twice, sometimes within seconds of being released. The drive for nectar is so strong that the experience of being caught and handled by a human, a "traumatic" experience some would believe, is no deterrent to revisiting the site of the capture for a free hit of precious fuel. In that respect the hummingbird mentality is not unlike that of the motor-barbarians in the "Mad Max" film series -- Must have the Juice! With it we can drive like maniacs to next location of the Juice!

Each bird that was netted was classified by species, weighted, sexed, and had its band number recorded. If unbanded they were given one. Hummingbird bands are so small you would hardly believe it, yet each one has a number printed on it which can only be seen with a loupe Here's a picture of one showing the scale. Banding them is an extremely tedious procedure as you may well imagine.

Most people are familiar with the Ruby-throated variety, and this is because they nest throughout the USA east of the Rockies, but there are many other species that briefly visit our neighborhoods while on their way to or from feeding grounds further north. During the lecture at least five species were caught or observed at the feeders.

An odd bit of hummingbird lore: In 1934 Adolf Hitler and his SS conspired to decapitate the Nazi stormtrooper movement, the Sturmabteilung or SA. The Nazi coup against its own members is popularly and melodramatically known as the Night of the Long Knives, but the actual term used by Hitler and the SS was Operation Hummingbird. This fact struck me as very odd; the hummingbird is strictly confined to the New World, and doesn't figure into European culture at all. In German the word for hummingbird is Kolibri, and as a codeword it was used to signal the various assassination squads to go into action. The etymology of Kolibri is a hint to its cultural significance in Germany. Das Kolibri derives from el colibrí, a rare example of a German word derived from Spanish. There is a whole group of hummers that we never see in North America that migrate from equatorial Brazil southward into Argentine and Chile, countries heavily influence by German culture via immigration. The loan word Kolibri shows that influence is a two-way street.

Quaestor said...

Looking into the matter more deeply I discovered that Himmler and his confederates used Das Kalibri as a satirical reference to Ernst Röhm, the rotund leader of the Sturmableilung bullyboys. After the failure of Hitler's Munich uprising in 1923 Röhm resigned from the Nazi Party and eventually wound up in Bolivia as a military advisor -- he migrated as it were, seeking a "warmer" climate. Later, when Hitler regained his political footing, Röhm returned to the Nazi movement. He was a beefy man prone to corpulence, and a homosexual with a taste for slender young men, so a tiny migratory bird from South America named with a neuter noun is rather a clever satirical nickname to pin on the swinish SA leader. (There's a word for this kind of metaphorical nicknaming, but I can't recall it.)

Nichevo said...

Oh, the refinement of a tomcat who's caught a mouse but is not very hungry.


fegelah
www.definition-of.com › fegelah
Mobile-friendly - fegelah - Or: feygelah / faygeleh , a disparaging appelation for a male homosexual, derived from the Yiddish for little bird...

Quaestor said...

Today the sermon from Father O'Brien concerned people we love who are in purgatory, and how to release them to heaven.

Purgatory, if it serves any theological purpose at all it is to "prepare" people for heaven by roasting them over slow fires or otherwise subjecting them to ironic tortures for a few million years. Now assuming a few million years of agony "fixes" anything (a HUGE assumption given that most people resent being tortured and bitterly hate anyone who would torture them for any reason) how is it just or even effectual to petition god for the early release of his prisoners? Presumably god knows how long a sinner needs to broil before he's done. If somebody's soul is spitted just because somebody else hasn't said the proper prayers sufficiently often with sufficient earnestness, then how is being held in purgatory any different from being held to ransom?

Coupe said...

Quaestor said...Presumably god knows how long a sinner needs to broil before he's done.

It's very complicated for spirits. It's not like you can flip them once one side is cooked.

One question I always have, is how do you get fire and brimstone to stick to a spirit. The Priest just shrugs and we take another puff of our Cuban cigars...

Nichevo said...

Could you point me two examples of broiling or other unfairness as indicated in, say, Dante's Purgatorio?

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

I have two feeders that each hold two cups of nectar. They are emptied in a week during the summer but the feeding is slowing down as the birds begin to migrate. I found a juvenile one time and fed him for a bit, then he flew off. The video was great. Why was the maker feeding those chicks ? I see nests in my bushes but stay away.

Valentine Smith said...

Not where I come from.

Quaestor said...

They are emptied in a week during the summer but the feeding is slowing down as the birds begin to migrate.

Many people adhere to the myth that hummingbird feeders can delay migration resulting in the death by starvation of hummers that fail to leave their summer range on schedule.

One of the subjects my hummingbird expert lectured on was that misconception. Migration behavior in most birds is controlled by an internal circannual rhythm which does not depend on environment clues such as the abundance or lack of food supplies. All research on hummingbirds supports the theoretical existence of a circannual rhythm mechanism triggering migration behavior. Hummers kept in artificially lit and air-conditioned enclosures during the summer with "daylight hours" and temperature kept constant, i.e. without environment clues as to seasonal change, have successfully completed their normal migrations after release.

There are exceptions to the circannual rhythm theory; one appears to be raptors like accipiter hawks and true falcons, whose migrations appear to be tied to food supply rather than a biological "calendar."

Quaestor said...

Nichevo wrote: Could you point me two examples of broiling or other unfairness as indicated in, say, Dante's Purgatorio?

Why you request examples from Dante is unclear to me, see as Il Purgatorio is literature rather than canon, but ok.

Here's one, the envious get their eyes sew shut with iron wire.

Here's another, the gluttonous are starved into animated skeletons while luscious fruit dangles just out of reach. (Lazy bastard, stealing from Hesiod. Dante's not even trying now...)

And finally, the cookout of the lustful.

Leaving aside Dante's horror show let's check out some official Christian stuff. There's this banality, and this atrocity. According to Dante the fire purges all that nasty sexual stuff we're born with in our very biochemistry, presumably by Divine Will. I guess you's could call it Yahweh's Ultimate Weenee Roast. It's a nice deity you've got there. He's not only cruel, he's a dumbass. He's had 14 billion years to think about it, and the only solution to human deviancy he's come up with is no better than what your garden variety Medieval sadist would approve of.

There's lots more the above from where it comes from, but I'm bored with Purgatory now, so find them yourself.

Actually, many theologians find the whole afterlife thing much more problematic than enlightening. What's the point of torturing anyone's soul after death, whether for eternity or not? Inflicting suffering never fixes anything in this World. If it did then Dachau and Bergen-Belsen must have been run by incompetents rather than sadists. So why does god go to such elaborate lengths to torture sinners in the Next World? Would it not be more just to simply annihilate them? The early Church Fathers couldn't square that circle so they speculated that observing the sufferings of the damned would be among entertainments of the blessed. Who'd want to go to Heaven and not see some poor schmuck being pan-fried for his sins. Not me, no sir! Pass the celestial popcorn! Many theologians would like to amend these doctrines to reflect a more humane age, since worshipers with a superior moral compass to the one processed by the worshiped deity is a bit of an embarrassment, but the very notion of amendable dogma tends to negate the whole religion thing. So it's a no-go so far.

Nichevo said...

You repeated the Tantalus dealie link for the "cookout" but I do see I must brush up on my Dante, honestly had not recalled. I am not a Christian but have read some NT, which I assumed was authoritative, and don't remember this stuff. I thought Purgatory was where the non-hopeless sinners do time to find the light. If the Catholics like to roll their own and write tracts on what God really meant, fine, but I'd think that was understood to be one man's opinion.

Anyway thx for the info and the flash reunion with Aligheri.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

When we lived in Burbank, we hung a hummer feeder on our balcony... and the hummers came... and they hovered around our heads each morning, as if to ask permission to drink from our feeder... and one (maybe two) of them eventually built a tiny nest int he sheffleria tree just outside our balcony... and the young ones made quite a racket and eventually learned to fly and drank from the feeder their parents drank from. It was quite a nice thing to see. Here in the Vegas high desert, we have a feeder and we're hoping the same cycle continues.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

And I always thought that most "knowledge" about hummers was bullshit. I think they're smarter than most of the people who observe them.