Recently in Critters Category

From Live Science:

Orcas have sunk 3 boats in Europe and appear to be teaching others to do the same. But why?
Orcas have attacked and sunk a third boat off the Iberian coast of Europe, and experts now believe the behavior is being copied by the rest of the population.

Three orcas (Orcinus orca), also known as killer whales, struck the yacht on the night of May 4 in the Strait of Gibraltar, off the coast of Spain, and pierced the rudder. "There were two smaller and one larger orca," skipper Werner Schaufelberger told the German publication Yacht. "The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side." 

Schaufelberger said he saw the smaller orcas imitate the larger one. "The two little orcas observed the bigger one's technique and, with a slight run-up, they too slammed into the boat." Spanish coast guards rescued the crew and towed the boat to Barbate, but it sank at the port entrance.

Two days earlier, a pod of six orcas assailed another sailboat navigating the strait. Greg Blackburn, who was aboard the vessel, looked on as a mother orca appeared to teach her calf how to charge into the rudder. "It was definitely some form of education, teaching going on," Blackburn told 9news.

Reports of aggressive encounters with orcas off the Iberian coast began in May 2020 and are becoming more frequent, according to a study published June 2022 in the journal Marine Mammal Science. Assaults seem to be mainly directed at sailing boats and follow a clear pattern, with orcas approaching from the stern to strike the rudder, then losing interest once they have successfully stopped the boat.

Interesting that they are going after sailboats and also that they are attacking the rudder.  The weak point. Disable the rudder and you disable the boat for most sailers.

Wonderful rapport between the dog (Deril) and the Lusi the trainer - from Italy, competing at Crufts (2017)

Being right

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Sad but so so true...

My Cat Lucy

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Really cute student animation:

Happy Bear-thday

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A party to remember:

Heh — sugar coma in 3...  2...  1...

I love bears - I would keep one as a pet if I was able to get it young enough to imprint properly (before the eyes are open) and if I had the space and facilities to give it a good life. Sweet creatures.

My new spirit animal

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Coming out - critters

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Found this over at Terrierman's Daily Dose:


Patrick and I differ politically but we agree on critters.  A daily read.

So true - dogs

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Had dogs all throughout my adult life.  Prefer working dogs but currently have a German Shephard as well as a Pug/Boxer mix. This really resonates:


My guys:

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They were sitting patiently waiting for me to finish loading the trailer:


Never thought of it that way before

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It has been an interesting experience with Truffle - a 20 pound pug/boxer rescue.  She has been living with us for about a year and it took the longest time for her to realize that she was, in fact, NOT Alpha of this pack. Bear (an 80 pound and very mellow German Shepherd) was amused.  I needed to get some training done so it was a bit of a battle for the first few months.

Never thought about it with cats - they would have the same initial assessment of their status and it would come as a shock that they were not revered as the gods they are.


Obey - I command you

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This is really bad for both species:


Dogs should never need to wear a muzzle unless their owner is a complete idiot (or psychotic) and could not handle the most basic of education.

Probably violates whole sections of NFPA 70 but I bet it would work until they wised up - mice and rats are smart and if they see something killing their brethren, they will learn to avoid it.


Fun with video - Jurassic Cat?

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More at their site: Owlkitty

Eviction and homebreaking

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Had some squatters on my property.  They have moved on so planning to demolish their home. Donald and Daisy and their three children - Huey, Dewey and Louie.

I refer of course to the Barn Swallows who built a nest and took up residency on the spring closer for the screen door on my main doorway. I have not seen them for one month so it is time to demolish their nest.  Sometimes, the parents can return for a second clutch of eggs so wanted to wait for a while.  Will be building some nesting boxes this winter for when they return.

Here is what they left behind - not ideal tenants by any stretch of the imagination but really cute kids:



Yeah - not the cleanest... A lot of fun to watch the little ones growing up.  They had no fear of me so I could stand and watch them for a few moments when they were active.  Mom and Dad were freaking out but they built their nest there so...  Nest is going away in a day or two.

Remember basic hygene

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A simple question - dogs

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Dog training

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All grown up - barn swallows

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The three chicks are a lot bigger now - they were lined up when I came in this afternoon.  Since the nest is on the screen door to my main entrance, I am in and out of there a couple times/day.  Mom and Dad still squawk at me and fly away - these little guys have grown up with me so they are like: meh...


As soon as they are fully fledged and have migrated south for the fall, that nest is coming down and some nest boxes are going up for next spring. Did not notice the nest being built until it was already occupied. DOH!

One of these is not like the other

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My new pup Truffle is very mouth-oriented. Found one of these in her mouth yesterday:


Guess which one.

It was all a mistake - a simple misunderstanding. A mere bagatelle.  From Barstool Sports:

Bob Baffert Claims A Man Taking Cough Medicine Peed On The Hay In Medina Spirit's Stall And The Horse Ate The Hay, Causing A Positive Test
Well that adds up! It all makes sense now! Give the Derby back to Medina Spirit, it was all one big understanding. It's like when you get a positive drug test because you were in your friend's car who happened to do 1 (one) marijuana cigarette, it's all wrong place at the wrong time.

Medina's handler was feeling a little under the weather, allergies and what not, and was taking copious amounts of DayQuil and drinking a ton of water. And when you're a horse guy, you pee wherever you want. It's all nature. So one thing led to another and the horse ate the contaminated hay, and that's where we're at now. If not for that extra pollen in the air, none of this would have happened.

So I'm glad Baffert cleared this all up. Medina was just tripping on some of the 'Quil, no harm, no foul. And I buy it. Go test that hay, ASAP, and we can put the end to story once and for all. Triple Crown, back on!

Believe that?  I happen to have an historic bridge for sale.  Located in downtown New York City.  It is in use but the city is putting it up for sale to raise money for diversity training. Contact me if you are interested - terms are available with a suitable initial down payment.

A little reminder - polar bears

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Polar Bears are doing just fine.  What caused their downfall was hunting, not climate "change".  Now that hunting has been restricted to subsistence hunting by natives, they are doing fine.

So true - information

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Prefer my dogs over many people I meet:


This has me chuckling - so true

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Clever corvids in the news

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I love corvids.  The name of my Blacksmithing business is Crow Island Forge which is the old name for my little island. Some fun news from the Anchorage, AK Costco - from the Anchorage Daily News:

Anchorage Costco customers say ravens are stealing their groceries in the parking lot
Marnie Jones and her husband made it all the way home from the South Anchorage Costco before they realized they’d been robbed.

“We had bought a four-pack of filet mignon steak,” Jones said. “It was on the bottom of the cart, and he was pushing it through the bumpy snow.”

When they reached their vehicle, the meat slid onto the ground. Her husband turned his back to load groceries before realizing the pack had slipped. When they got home and put everything away, he noticed he was one steak short.

Then, it clicked.

“He said, ‘Oh my God, after I picked up that pack of steaks, I saw a raven in the parking lot with a steak in his mouth,’ " Jones said.

This is organized:

Last month, Matt Lewallen was packing his purchases into his car and lost a single short rib from his cart.

“They know what they’re doing; it’s not their first time,” Lewallen said. “They’re very fat so I think they’ve got a whole system there.”

I love it - they use tools.  They can identify individual people and are very friendly if treated right.  Treat them wrong and you will be dive-bombed whenever they see you.  Like I said, I love corvids. I would be feeding them here at home but the @#$% sky rats seagulls eat the same kinds of food from the same kind of feeder so I stopped.  Planning to have a station at my shop when it gets built.

Heh - I have this problem too

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Got my new rescue dog trained to stay off the furniture but every so often, I'll get up in the night and come back to find her on the bed.  This hit home:


Mostly, she and Bear will go outside while I am in the bathroom and when we come come back into the bedroom, Truffle will walk over and plop herself down in Bear's bed. Bear sighs and curls up on the throw-rug (Truffle's bed is a lot smaller).  Later, Truffle will move but this is just one part of her trying to claim Alpha of this pack. Not gonna happen but she still tries - had her for about four months.  Turning into a really great little pup otherwise...

Heh - so so true

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Kind of glad that none of my critters can see the monitor right now.  They would be laughing:


Puppy energy

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Been a lot of fun working with Truffle.  New dog and she is less than one year old.  Firmly in puppy territory.

She will be dead to the world for a while and then it is Warp Factor 7 Mr. Sulu - no middle ground.

Cute little bugger - love her to bits. Smart when she wants to be.

One more before I go

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From Woodsterman:


So true - my Bear is a gentle giant.

Now this is cute

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Bats roosting - the camera is upside down. Set to some disco music. From Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

And off to the Tube of You

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That is it for me for tonight. 

Pecos Hank as well as being a great storm chaser is a good friend of animals - they feature in his videos from time to time and today, he uploaded a collection of ones that he has seen on his travels. Check it out - great photography and some fun critters:

In the Southwest. From the Arizona Department of Agriculture:

On March 25, the Arizona State Veterinarian's Office received Information from the State Veterinarian in New Mexico that they had a confirmed case of RHDV2 in a domestic rabbit and were seeing a die off of wild rabbits as well.  On April 2, New Mexico reported that since the March 24, 2020 diagnosis of RHDV2 in pet rabbits was confirmed at Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL), 5 additional detections on premises in 5 counties have been confirmed, and this investigation is ongoing. On April 2, they confirmed RHDV2 in a wild black-tailed jackrabbit and wild cottontails, representing the first detection of this virus in wild rabbits in the United States.


Origin of the disease
The RHD virus was first diagnosed in 1984 in China. It spread widely throughout the world and is well established in some countries.

Just wonderful - Ebola is a hemorrhagic disease. Nasty stuff. Problems in Colorado too.

So so true

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Run into people like this every so often - toxic. Make a good case for retroactive birth control.


You are not the apex predator in this neighborhood:


Tip of the hat to Daily Timewaster which is anything but. (guessing a small grizz or large brown)

Bird migration

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I knew that weather radar was also used for plotting seasonal bird migration - did not know that weather forecasting models could be used to forecast bird numbers. Makes perfect sense. From Cliff Mass:

Forecasting Bird Migration with Weather Radar and Models
We are now in the midst of the big bird migration time of the year and weather radar can help documents the huge flux of birds overhead.

But even more fascinating, we can skillfully predict bird migration using numerical weather prediction.

One of my favorite sites to check out bird migration is BirdCast, run by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. I really appreciate this group and as an undergrad at Cornell I frequently visited their Sapsucker Woods Wildlife Sanctuary.

One of the wonderful things they have on their website is real-time bird migration maps based on the clever use of weather radar (see below). Turns out that weather radar is a very effective tool for tracking birds, particularly when there is not much precipitation (when the National Weather Radars are in clear air mode).

The map below provides an example: a real-time snapshot of bird migration at 12:50 AM PDT early this (Saturday) morning. The colors shows the intensity of bird migration and the orange arrows provide the direction of migration (which can be determined from the Doppler weather radar signal!). Not surprisingly, most birds are moving northward and the Pacific Northwest is an active migration route. The largest migration is from Texas to Wisconsin. By the way, the units of this map is THOUSANDS of bird per km line per hour. That is a lot of birds!

Much more at the site. Fascinating and now, it adds a new dimension to watching their comings and goings.

I think I found my spirit animal

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Not a bear after all - this guy:


Today's guest of honor

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Was outside at the BBQ and heard a very familiar chuff sound. Looked around and didn't see anything. Heard it again 30 seconds later and looked out to see a Gray Whale diving in the bay about 200 meters offshore from me.

I feel their presence from time to time - nice to actually see one.

Good dog Ryker

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Service dog training:

He actually did quite well in his tests - folded the wheelchair for transport, the tennis ball on the walker was a tripping hazard, he washed the floor with the water bottle and maybe they needed to clean behind the fridge? What is their question?

Good boy!!!

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UPDATE: Issue with video - looking into it...

Sniffing out some 'black market' hand sanitizer:

I love the way that dogs turn around when they are on a scent. Kilo looks like a really sweet dog - very happy to be working for his best friend. From Fargo, ND and yes, there was a bit of pot in the same bag.

Heh - love the expression and the paws

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