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Friday Flora and Fauna

December 5, 2008

Well bloggers.  Seeing as this is the first post in a new thread, I thought I’d start with the topic of communication.  Blogging , obviously, is a form of communication or display.  A way of sort of putting yourself out there and waiting to see if you’ll attract some or any attention.  Let’s leave the psychology of why humans do it aside and look at the natural world for a minute, where in most cases it’s a necessity.

Blogging in the natural world takes the form of the senses – colour, smell and sound.  In most cases it’s either one or the other and in some cases all three.  Of course when I say blogging, I’m referring to the passive expression of the animal or, in many cases, the plant, carried out in order to attract a mate or to outline a territory.

Many readers will be familiar with the antics of the bowerbirds of Australia and New Guinea where the male builds a bower, meticulously placing items in its display in order to attract a female.  Now here’s an interesting fact from the Wikipedia entry on bowerbirds…

In a striking example of what is known as the “transfer effect,” bowerbird species that build the most elaborate bowers are dull in color and show little variation between male and female, whereas in bowerbird species with less elaborate bowers the males have bright plumage. Presumably, evolution has “transferred” the reproductive benefits of bright male plumage (common among polygamous birds) to elaborate bowers, allowing males to display their fitness by means other than physical characteristics that would appear to attract predation.

Bowerbird

Photo owned by Richard.Fisher (cc)

The only reason I mention this is it may be applied in some way to the practice of assigning oneself an avatar on the web.  In short, if it’s not a photo of the person themselves, and even if it is, in some disguised form, just what does it say about that blogger?

Now this time of the year in Ireland is fairly quiet in terms of flora and fauna.  The trees have (all but a few hardies) lost their leaves and most mammals will have gone to ground or are preparing to go into hibernation.  But there a few around that still display the best in natural blogging, e.g. the Goldfinch, a common resident in Ireland but with plumage more like a tropical species.  In fact these birds were once in decline due to capture for the birdcage trade in the 19th century, until protection laws were passed in the 1930s, but more on that next week.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. EcoWarrior permalink
    December 10, 2008 4:07 pm

    Ireland quiet in terms of flora and fauna at this time of year??? Oh dear oh dear… any birdwatcher will tell you of the incredible spectacles of huge flocks of starlings, consisting of our own resident Irish birds plus those arriving in their tens of thousands from northern Europe, communicating en masse as they darken the skies over farmland and towns up and down the island. And the noisy winter flocks of swans, geese, ducks, redwings, fieldfares, tits, finches, and hidden gems like waxwings and vagrant woodpeckers…. and all of the winter visitors to garden bird tables… its also the easiest time of year to see many of our mammals – deer, fox, pine marten, rabbit, hare, badger… not to mention winter bat roosts in caves and souterrains… winter wildlife rocks!!

  2. Ger permalink
    December 11, 2008 9:56 am

    Perhaps, ‘fairly’ quiet wasn’t pedantic enough and you’ve jumped the gun in terms of my lead into the subject of winter birds! By the way, a word of caution against disturbing bat roosts especially during hibernation. It is an offence under the Wildlife Act (1976 & 2000) to intentionally disturb, kill or injure a bat or its resting place. If you do find a bat roost, best to inform your local wildlife ranger (www.npws.ie) or Bat Conservation Ireland (www.batconservationireland.org) for submitting records, observations and advice on watching and listening to bats in Ireland.

  3. southiesham permalink
    December 11, 2008 7:53 pm

    But what if it’s a bat that has the body of a bat, but the head of a spider? should I still report it or should I kill it before it multiplies and tries to take over Leitrim?

  4. EcoWarrior permalink
    December 16, 2008 1:51 am

    Try to shoo it towards Longford.

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