Band those pigeons
Thursday August 13th 2015, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

Enormous, a blue-gray back, white then gray stripes at the end of a rounded tail–and it wasn’t afraid of him like the mourning doves it dwarfed: the young squirrel froze in high alert, then fled in terror.

Doofus, that’s a juvenile band-tailed pigeon, not a Cooper’s hawk.

The band-tailed is closest genetically to the extinct passenger pigeon and so they are using its eggs in experiments to try to bring the other back.

Which leads me to a question: wildlife instinctively knows what other species to be afraid of or not. If an extinct species were to be brought back genetically, would other ones need to relearn how to react to them? Or would that still be hard-wired in even after so many decades’ absence from this planet?

Meantime, back here in the day to day, the washing machine was diagnosed with a failed pump. $180, done. The repairman checked out everything else on the machine and said approvingly that it has “low mileage” and that it’s in great shape now.

No Speed Queen splurge quite yet.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Interesting question about ‘reviving’ an extinct species and the reactions of other species to it. I think there would have to be a learning curve to some extent. Most animals judge danger first by size, I believe. If you are bigger than me than you can hurt me…if only you could break a flight feather in a tussle and therefore I would not fly well. But those environments without certain predators (Pacific Islands before the introduction of rats, pigs and such) were easy pickings for people too. On the other hand the antelope of the US southwest are believed to be so incredibly fast because they had some ‘fast’ predator in the past, one no longer present in the current environment, but they are still incredibly fast…faster than they need for any current threat.
Well interesting puzzle to chew on this morning.

Comment by Helen 08.14.15 @ 5:41 am

Yay about both the fruit and the washing machine! (I found purple Italian prune plums two weeks ago at the farmers’ market — bought more than I could eat in a week. I love them!) And yes, interesting question about whether the fear/flight is hard wired and remains after the predator is extinct.

Comment by Susan (sjanova) 08.15.15 @ 1:31 pm

I just read a great book by Diane Ackerman on the challenges of introducing zoo-reared species into the wild – they don’t know how to do everything via instinct born of genetics. But some learn and survive – and the first wild-born generation has a much greater survival rate than the immigrant generation. Not unlike people, learning to fit into a new place.

Comment by twinsetellen 08.16.15 @ 5:15 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>