Australian Magpies Seem Nice

According to Wikipedia,

Magpies are ubiquitous in urban areas all over Australia, and have become accustomed to people. A small percentage of birds become highly aggressive during breeding season from late August to early – mid October, and will swoop and sometimes attack passersby. Attacks begin as the eggs hatch, increase in frequency and severity as the chicks grow, and tail off as the chicks leave the nest.

The percentage has been difficult to estimate but is significantly less than 9%. Almost all attacking birds (around 99%) are male, and they are generally known to attack pedestrians at around 50 m (160 ft) from their nest, and cyclists at around 100 m (330 ft). There appears to be some specificity in choice of attack targets, with the majority of individuals specializing on either pedestrians or cyclists. Smaller – especially younger – people, lone people, and people travelling quickly (i.e., runners and cyclists) appear to be targeted most often by swooping magpies. Anecdotal evidence suggests that if a magpie sees a human trying to rescue a chick that has fallen from its nest, the bird will view this help as predation, and will become more aggressive to humans from then on.

Magpies may engage in an escalating series of behaviours to drive off intruders. Least threatening are alarm calls and distant swoops, where birds fly within several metres from behind and perch nearby. Next in intensity are close swoops, where a magpie will swoop in from behind or the side and audibly “snap” their beaks or even peck or bite at the face, neck, ears or eyes. More rarely, a bird may dive-bomb and strike the intruder’s (usually a cyclist’s) head with its chest. A magpie may rarely attack by landing on the ground in front of a person and lurching up and landing on the victim’s chest and pecking at the face and eyes.

Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie

Can An Unsent Text Message Count As A Will?

Apparently it can in Australia,

A Queensland court has accepted a dead man’s unsent, draft text message leaving his possessions to his brother and nephew instead of his wife and son, as an official will.

. . .

The unsent message detailed how to access the man’s bank account details and where he wanted his ashes to be buried.

“You and [nephew] keep all that I have house and superannuation, put my ashes in the back garden … [wife] will take her stuff only she’s ok gone back to her ex AGAIN I’m beaten. A bit of cash behind TV and a bit in the bank Cash card pin … My will”

PETA Displeased With Name of Australian 80s Band

I’d never heard of them before, but apparently there was a popular band in Australia in the 1980s called Hunters & Collectors. According to their Wikipedia page, they formed in 1981 and then broke up in 1998, with some sort of reformation in 2013.

So, of course, this band is a hot button item for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In a March 2, 2017 press release, PETA asked the group to change its name to something more animal friendly.

Dear Mark, John, Doug, Jack, Rob, Barry, Jeremy, and Michael,

I hope this letter finds you well. On the eve of the duck-hunting season, we at PETA Australia have a request that may help save lives: Would you consider changing the name of your band to discourage people from hunting animals?

We feel sure that it was never your intention to promote the killing of intelligent, sensitive, and defenceless animals, but your name may nevertheless make hunting seem appealing to your fans.

. . .

As your Adelaide reunion show is coming up, now is the perfect time to for a band namelift. Might you consider “Hunters & Collectors of Antiques”, “Hunters & Collectors of Vinyl Records”, or even “Hunters & Collectors of Beer Cans” as possible replacements? You could even enlist the help of your fans to crowdsource the holy grail of names on social media.

Do you see what we see? By agreeing to change your name, you would help raise awareness of the cruelty inherent in hunting waterbirds and give ducks a fighting chance.

Warm regards,

Ashley Fruno
Associate Director of Campaigns
PETA Australia

 

Animal Rights Group Protests at Sausage Sale

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned the controversy over a pig and cow raised at Daylesfor Secondary College in Australia to give students there exposure to traditional farming methods — i.e., the animals were raised to be slaughtered for sausage.

Members of Ballarat Organization for Animal Rights showed up at the Glenlyon Food and Wine Fayre in late July to protest the sale of the sausages made from the animals.

BOAR spokesman Trevor Wilson told The Courier,

They [the students] have all suffered. . . . We would hope to get the message through so that it never happens again. . . .When you desensitize people [to violence], who knows what they can turn into.

Wilson added that his groups thinks Australia’s Education Minister should ban schools from raising animals for slaughter,

We feel that Lynne Kosky should make a requirement that animals are not used this way in education.

Liam Thoryncraft, who helped organize the school’s participation in the young gourmet contest at the food fair, said that the sausages sold well. He added that if the project is repeated there would be some changes,

We understand [the controversy raised by keeping the animals on school grounds] and we did make the mistake of putting the pig in the school grounds for people to get attached to it. We would do it all again, but would change some things.

Source:

Protest at sale of sausages. The Courier (Australia), July 31, 2005.

Australian Model Sarah Jane Does PETA Anti-KFC Ad

Australian model Sarah Jane is appearing in an ad on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urging consumers to boycott KFC.

The ad is targeted at Hong Kong, where PETA plans to distribute 20,000 flyers featuring the ad.

Jane told newspapers,

I hope that, no matter how you feel about eating meat, you will agree with me that animals raised for food should not be grossly mistreated. Chickens raised for meat are commonly crammed by the tens of thousands into filthy warehouses with no access to fresh air or sunlight. . . .I will feel satisfied if this campaign can shock, confront and awaken people globally and make known the suffering of chickens at the hands of KFC. I urge everyone not to set foot in another KFC restaurants until the company ends its chickens.

Interesting how PETA is so effective at attracting people whose main talent seems to be their ability to disrobe.

Source:

Animal welfare group enlists star for anti-KFC campaign. Agence-France Presse, August 3, 2005.

Sarah Jane out of her shell. Herald Sun, August 4, 2005.

Aussie chick to nearly reveal all in KFC protest. Dennis Chong, The Standard (China), August 4, 2005.

Most downloaded woman urges KFC to clean up its low-down, dirty ways. Press release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Undated.