Monday, April 29, 2013

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves are the most abundant and widespread of the doves, they are found throughout the US and in southern Canada.  Except in the most northern reaches of it's territory, Mourning Doves are year round residents.  

Mourning Dove's wings make a distinctive whistling sound when they take flight.  They are about the size of a Blue Jay, (11-13 inches long) with gray and tan markings, a long white trimmed tapering tail, and orange feet.  Males can be distinguished by a rose tinted breast.  During courtship, the male can be seen bowing and doing a sort of wing flap dance.  

Mourning Doves feed on the ground, eating mainly grains and bugs.  During nestling, a gland inside their crop produces a thick liquid.  The baby bird reaches inside the parent's beak to eat this "pigeon milk".

The nest is a flimsy collection of twigs.  During nest construction, the female remains at the nest site while the male gathers twigs.  He delivers them one at the time to the female.  

Male and female share in the incubation of (on average) two eggs.  They hold to a rather strict schedule, remaining on the nest for their full shift.  The male's shift is morning until evening and the female's shift is evening until morning.  After 14-15 days, the young hatch and nestling lasts 12-13 days.  Fledgling takes about a week, during which time the youngsters perch near the nest and gradually move further away until they finally join a flock of other Mourning Doves.

Hear the Mourning Dove's voice
This call is heard throughout the breeding season, especially by males looking for a mate.  Another shorter call is used by males and females to talk to each other, mostly while nesting.  This call sounds like the first three notes of the longer call. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 12

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Let's begin.

Some guy from Utah found a two year old McDonald's hamburger in his pocket.  He claims it still looked "brand new".  That thrilled him so much he put it back in his pocket.  Some 14 years later, he claims the hamburger looks "almost new".  This guy has started a blog and has appeared on TV thanks to a hamburger he bought in 1999. 

He's taken it out of his pocket and brought it on vacation with him.  Where did the "oldest hamburger" recently recreate?


 Hang gliding over El Camino Memorial Park
 to buzz Ray Kroc's grave?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Wrangling at a cattle ranch?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Checked in for an endurance evaluation
 at a Consumer Testing Laboratory?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Disney World?
Hostmaster:  correct.
So ends another round.

Round 12
Fluffy/Molly  6
Bryan/Cyndi  6
Dang.  I planned to use Disney World as a punch line.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Malcom's Secret

As many of you know, Malcom the tortoise and I have been living together for nearly forty years.  Way back when we met, I named him Malcom because I liked the name.  With the name, Malcom became a "he".  The possibility that Malcom was not a he was always there.  Now it is glaringly there because yesterday something unexpected was found in Malcom's enclosure.

Gosh Malcom, we didn't know you had it in you!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 11

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.

 In our last Round, our question was guess some of the strange courses available for credit at major universities.  One such course is Tree Climbing.  Can you name another?

Identifying edible objects?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Balloon Art Appreciation?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
The Art of the Squeak Toy?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
The literature of Jackie Collins?

Hostmaster:  close.
John Irving?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Charles M. Schulz?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
The Pooch Cafe guy, Paul Gilligan?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Harry Potter?
Correct.  Yes, there is a college English course focused on the Origins and Influences of Harry Potter.

Well, one good thing came from Harry Potter.  Fang.
Round 11
Fluffy/Molly   6
Bryan/Cyndi   5

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Some Philosophy from George the Bullmastiff

I believe there are 3 kinds of people.
1.  People who do good.
2.  People who don't do good.
3.  People who brag about what they do.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Competition Nerves in Horses and People

Everybody gets nervous before a competition, right?  Even though you practice and you are prepared for the event, you may still feel agitated at the time of competition.

Well, the Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Science teamed up with the Brandenburg State Stud in Neustadt, Germany and the University of Vienna, to study the competition nerves of horse and human teams.

Heart rates of the horses and their riders were monitored during at-home practice and while doing the identical activity in front of an audience in a competitive environment.

The findings: 
Both horses' and riders' heart rates increased while doing the activity.  The riders' heart rate increases were more marked when in competition than during practice (as were other cardiac measurements and amount of cortisol released), suggesting that human beings get nervous in competition but horses do not.

Based on these preliminary findings, it appears that horses don't feel pressure as much as people do.  Could it be, competitively speaking, better if the horse was the one primarily directing the team rather than the rider?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 10

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  

Now for our question.  Some universities offer credit courses in unexpected, unusual, even bizarre topics.  Can you name one of these extraordinary courses?


The Music of Mel Torme'?
Hostmaster:  incorrect. 

Bird watching?
Hostmaster:  incorrect. 
What not to wear?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
How to tree a squirrel?
Hostmaster:  incorrect but sort of close.
How to tree a raccoon?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
How to save a tree?
Hostmaster:  snort.  Taught by -I'm not a professor but I can play one- Darryl Hannah.  Ha!  Oh, um, just kidding.  Incorrect.
Dammit Jim. I'm a tree hugger not an actress!
Hostmaster:  guffaw.  Wanna answer the question?
Climbing Trees?
Correct.  Yes, Cornell University offers a course in tree climbing.  One of the course requirements is to spend a night up a tree. 
This ends Round 10.  Maybe next Round I'll let you guess some other fascinating classes higher education has developed to mold the young minds destined to be the leaders of the future. 
Round 10
Fluffy/Molly   6
Bryan/Cyndi   4

Friday, April 5, 2013

Breed Profile: Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest of the Sighthounds.  When standing on his hind legs, he is about six feet tall.

Some say that around 1500 BC, large dogs resembling today's Irish Wolfhound were brought from Greece to Ireland.  In 391 AD, in Rome, tales were told of such large dogs fighting wild animals in the arena.  In the eighteenth century, the Irish Wolfhound were used to hunt elk and wolves.  The dogs did such a good job, that elk and wolves were pretty much wiped out in Ireland, nearly putting the Wolfhound out of business.   
Some Irish Wolfhound Facts
-  height at shoulder:  30-35 inches
-  weight:  105-180 pounds
-  life span:  5-7 years
-  coat:  wiry, rough
-  coat colors:  gray, red, black, white, fawn, brindle
-  no longer used as a hunter, their current job is family member
Slow to mature, the Irish Wolfhound is not full grown physically nor emotionally until well after one year of age.  Once they are grown-up however, the Wolfhound is a calm, enchanting companion.  They are easy going, patient with children, other pets and other dogs.  Still, being a sighthound, these dogs retain the innate desire to chase assorted critters like deer and squirrels.
Irish Wolfhounds are big furry greyhounds that require exercise.  A long daily walk is usually adequate.  The Irish Wolfhound is intelligent and learns quickly.  Thus, he is prone to boredom with repetitive or drill style training.  
Those who live with Irish Wolfhounds usually describe them as sweet, gentle and affectionate but not effusively nor indiscriminately.
Irish Wolfhound Manifesto
-  I am not a couch potato, but I will take over the couch
-  if you want a watchdog, get a Terrier
-  I am not indifferent.  I am mellow  
See some nice pictures.
Next Breed Profile:   Golden Retriever!