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birdfeeder

I know, what’s a birdfeeder, with sunflower seeds in it, doing on a desk by the window? Shouldn’t it be, like, outside the window or something? So the birds can feed on it?

Well, I tried that. The bloody birds wouldn’t come. It may be because the location was obscure, with too much concrete and wood nearby. But I would have thought that they could detect and come to a safe, reliable source of food. Apparently they can’t. I’ll eat the damn seeds myself. Losers.

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The loserly wildlife is clearly out to mock me though. A few weeks back, in the middle of an especially busy weekend, I went to the grunion run late on Saturday night, sacrificing beautiful sleep, which is always in short supply anyway. And what do the grunion do? Yup, they have the bloody temerity not to show up. And we were told that there had been plenty of grunion the previous night. So yeah, the wildlife is clearly out to mock me.

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Lest you think I ascribe too much consciousness to animals, I recently learnt about the Mirror Test. It is used to test whether an animal (such as a little human) has a sense of self-consciousness. When put in front of a mirror, with a mark on their faces, kids who are 18-months old or more finger the mark, or try to wipe it, thus demonstrating their awareness of “self.” (Younger kids think it’s some other kid in the mirror.) I wasn’t surprised to learn that the great apes all pass the Mirror Test, and the (bottlenose) dolphins and orcas were believable success stories as well. (Especially the dolphins, about whom I’ve raved before.) That elephants passed the test was a little bit of a surprise, and a very pleasant one, but what absolutely took the cake was reading that European Magpies pass the test too. That’s just totally brilliant.

baby elephant

Baby elephant from San Diego’s Wild Animal Park (July 2010)

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