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 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:23 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Iranian video showing stray dogs' killings sparks protests in major cities

Protesters in Tehran and Shiraz demand an end to the killings of stray dogs by lethal injection and instead want the authorities to vaccinate and shelter them

Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Thursday 23 April 2015 17.49 BST

A horrific video, showing the killings of stray dogs by lethal injection in the Iranian city of Shiraz, has sparked protests in at least two major cities and drawn condemnation from animal rights defenders across the country.

The footage, which has gone viral in Iran, depicts a group of men cruelly putting down stray dogs by injecting what seems to be acid. The animals are shown twitching in agony before they die.

It appears to be part of a regional effort to control the canine population, often carried out by private contractors, but the local authorities deny any link to the incident.

The video has triggered rare protests in recent days against animal cruelty in the capital Tehran and the southern city of Shiraz. On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered in front of Iran’s environment agency in Tehran, holding up placards and wearing orange ribbons, to demand perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Some of the placards read as: “stop killing animals”, “stop animal cruelty”, “dogs are man’s best friends” and “dogs are angels created by God”. Similar protests have also been taken place in Shiraz in front of the city’s main municipality last week.

Protesters in Tehran demanded the country’s head of environmental protection organisation, Massoumeh Ebtekar, to reassure them that those behind the brutal killings will be prosecuted.

Ebtekar, who serves as a vice-president in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, appeared among the protesters and promised her agency would introduce laws to protect animal rights. She subsequently wrote to the country’s interior minister asking him to put an end to unconventional methods used to curb the population of stray dogs or control infections spread by them.

Targol Ghasemi, one of the protesters, told the state news agency that such killings are against animal rights. “Activists want the killings to be stopped and instead we should make a shelter for them and vaccinate them,” she told the Irna news agency.

But in at least one place in Iran, the picture is different. In the city of Tabriz, animal rights activists, led by Jila Pourirani, have managed to persuade local authorities to stop the killings of stray dogs and instead give activists permission to run a shelter. It’s called Pardise animal shelter and has since become home to a large number of stray dogs. They are also active on Facebook.

Dogs have made news in Iran for other reasons as well. Last year, Iranian MPs proposed a bill to make it a criminal offence to keep dogs as pets or walk them in public, with offenders subject to 74 lashes or a fine.

Iran’s morality police, usually deployed in public places, have previously cracked down on dog owners, cautioning them or confiscating their animals.

According to Islamic custom, dogs are unclean. Iranians avoid keeping them at home in general, though a minority, especially in north Tehran’s wealthy districts, enjoy keeping pets.

Hardliners in Iran are particularly worried about what they call a “cultural invasion” from the west and see pet ownership, especially of dogs, as an imitation of western culture. Senior officials have previously warned citizens against dog ownership and Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a prominent hardline cleric, has also issued a fatwa against keeping dogs.

Despite this, dog ownership appears to be on the rise.

 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:18 AM 
Started by Skywalker - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Rad,

Do you know of the concept of twin flames and if this is actually true? I know you have spoken about Soul mates which are Souls that have been helping one another evolve (probably over eons of time) and wonder if this is the same.

Below is a text I copied from that explains what twin flames are.

The twin flame, or perfect love, is born out of the original white-fire ovoid.
This is an ovoid of light in which
you are created in the Central Sun, the highest concentration of pure Spirit in
the universe. God takes the ovoid and he makes... out of it two spheres of
light. And each sphere looks like the causal body in the upper portion of the
Chart of the Real Self. So imagine this chart twice.

Descending from these spheres into Matter, then, come forth the souls
that are the counterpart of the
Spirit spheres. They are called twin flames because they came out of the
original single ovoid. The Electronic Presence of each soul is the exact
duplicate of the other. And when they descend into form, one assumes the
positive or masculine and one assumes the negative or feminine polarity.
Now, each ovoid has a unique pattern. It is an electronic blueprint. Only you and
your twin flame have it. You have it in the Spirit. You have the divine image in
which you were made. It’s the same image.
No one else in the whole cosmos can
claim this oneness with you because you were only born once, spiritually.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet.......

Thank you

All the best

 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:18 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
San Francisco to circuses using 'wild or exotic' animals: pack up and leave town

It’s unclear if ordinance which would ban forcing animals to perform anywhere in the city and county – including for movie and TV productions – will pass into law

Jessica Glenza in New York
Thursday 23 April 2015 17.55 BST

San Francisco may have seen its last lion tamer. The city and county’s board of supervisors on Tuesday voted to end all performances by “wild or exotic” animals, going further than other US cities by banning displays in all settings, from the circus to movies and television.

Though the board of supervisors approved the new rule, it was unclear if it would pass into law. Mayor Edwin Lee, who must approve the ordinance, did not immediately indicate if he would do so. The mayor’s press office told the Guardian: “Mayor Lee is reviewing the proposed legislation.”

If it did become law, the ordinance would ban people from forcing “wild or exotic animals” to perform “on any public or private property within the city and county of San Francisco”. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and $1,000 fine for each animal. Educational displays would be exempted.

The new law is part of an apparent shift in public opinion on whether animals should ever be held in captivity and forced to perform.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus recently retired its herd of Asian elephants. An executive from the circus’s corporate parent, Feld Entertainment, cited a “mood shift” among consumers as part of the decision to end the performances. The circus still stages performances involving tigers, camels dogs and goats.

According to Born Free USA, an animal rights advocacy group, communities in Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado and California have banned performances by exotic animals or the act of prodding animals to perform.

In the UK, there has been a years-long effort to outlaw performances by traveling circus animals. Countries including Bolivia, Mexico and Bosnia and have already banned the practice.

Many conservationists argue that forcing wild animals to perform is cruel and abusive, and potentially dangerous to the animals, trainers and viewing public. Some also say that it encourages the trafficking of wild animals, a multibillion-dollar industry, and detracts from conservation efforts.

“Given the unique and extensive physical and psychological needs of wild animals that science is increasingly documenting, there can be no reasonable justification for the continuation of such practices that, in their very nature, are known to be highly abusive,” wrote Toni Frohoff, an elephant and cetacean scientist, in a letter supporting the San Francisco ordinance.

The San Francisco rule is not without its detractors. The Motion Picture Association of America sent a letter to the supervisors, urging them to reject the ordinance on the basis of potential economic impact.

Movies and television shows about animals create “good middle-class jobs” in California, the letter argued.

“As you are no doubt aware, motion pictures and television shows have told countless stories about animals, with animals playing both leading and supporting roles,” the letter read.

“MPAA member companies take seriously their obligation to handle animals safely and responsibly.”

 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Fins to legs to fins: Walking whales and other creatures that went back to the sea, part i

April 23, 2015
John Hopton for – @Johnfinitum

The theory that all animal life emerged from the sea has been well covered, but much less is known about the creatures that went back. Whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles are examples of marine tetrapods, an exceptional group of animals that moved from the sea to the land and back again.

Each time, they made radical changes to their lifestyle, body shape, physiology and sensory systems. Changes so radical, in fact, that whales and dolphins are referred to as tetrapods–or animals with four legs–and there was such a thing as “walking whales”. Even elephants and snakes may have changed their habitat, from the waters of the earth to the land and back, several times.

The reverse migration of land animals back to the ocean began 250 million years ago, following the most severe mass extinction event in history, known as the Great Permian Extinction or the Great Dying. However, the process is not limited to this event.

Neil P. Kelley began his research at Vanderbilt University and is now lead author of a new review from scientists at the Smithsonian, who have synthesized decades of scientific findings regarding the changes that these land species underwent in order to thrive in the marine environment. RedOrbit spoke to Neil Kelley to get more information on this fascinating subject and, in Part II, to find out what it means for our evolutionary knowledge more broadly.

Co-author Nicholas Pyenson also reviewed Neil’s answers and provided input.

redOrbit: What advantage did the sea have over land at the time of the Great Dying?

Neil P. Kelley: This is a great question, and scientists don’t really know. The end-Permian mass extinction was profound on land and in the oceans, the largest known in the fossil record. By the numbers it might have actually been worse in the oceans: with estimated extinction of 90 percent of marine species and around 70 percent of species on land. However, it is difficult to pin down this comparison because overall chances of fossilization are better in the ocean than on land.

We do think that this devastation cleared the playing field and opened up new opportunities in the ocean. This ecological reset at the end of the Permian likely paved the way for several groups of land reptiles to move into the ocean. The end-Permian mass extinction is thought to have been triggered by massive volcanic driven carbon release to the atmosphere leading to runaway warming, acid rain, ocean acidification, hydrogen sulfide poisoning and ocean anoxia. It is possible that shallow aquatic habitats like lakes, rivers, and estuaries provided a refuge and could have helped to incubate aquatic transitions – but that’s an idea that someone should test.

Paleontologists have observed similar patterns across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event 66 million years ago that wiped out dinosaurs (except birds) on land and plesiosaurs and mosasaurs in the ocean. Again, new groups moved from land to sea during the recovery from this mass extinction, but this time it was mostly mammals and birds.

RO: Snakes had legs, elephants were aquatic, and whales and dolphins lived on land?! Please could you tell us a little more about this?

NPK: The fossil record for each of these groups provides the evidence for these transitions. This is one of the reasons that studying the fossil record is important. We know that all living things ultimately share a single common ancestor that lived thousands of millions of years ago and the fossil record directly shows how each living group came to evolve its unique anatomy, ecology, and lifestyle.

Such transitional fossil series are well known for some (but not all) of the groups that have moved from land to sea.

RO: Snakes?

NPK: Snakes are just one very successful group of lizard that have lost their legs; many other non-snake lizards have lost their limbs as well. Some of the oldest snake fossils, from the Cretaceous, are animals that lived in the oceans (based on the types of rocks we find them in, as well as their anatomy). Interestingly, these early fossil snakes still had very tiny legs, just as some early fossil whales still had small hind limbs many tens of millions of years later. There is still debate about whether these early marine snakes are a key to the origins of modern snakes or represent some kind of evolutionary off-shoot. Later groups of snakes, including the sea snakes alive today, have independently evolved marine lifestyles repeatedly. Something about the group seems to make it relatively easy for them to make these habitat switches. That tendency is one of the things that makes it a challenge to easily decipher their origins, but that’s also what makes it interesting!

RO: Whales?

NPK: There is a very rich record of early whales, including “walking whales,” and at this point there is probably no other land-to-sea transition is better documented in the fossil record. There is a very good summary of that history at the University of California Museum of Paleontology’s Understanding Evolution page.

(Here’s a wonderful picture of the pakicetus, the “whale with the tail”, if you will – more commonly known as “the first whale”)

RO: Elephants?

NPK: Elephants are interesting in that they are closely related to manatees and sea cows, and both groups probably shared a similar freshwater ecology in their early history before diverging on very different pathways. Again this is based on fossil evidence, but backed up with e.g. genetic and physiological data from living species. Elephants never went through a marine phase as far as we know so we don’t discuss them at all in our new paper.

Have we seen this change, a move from the land to the sea, at times or for other reasons other than a mass extinction event?

NPK: Certainly some transitions have occurred at times other than mass extinctions. For example, sea otters have only moved into the oceans in the past several million years, apparently not in response to any mass extinction. In these cases it is tough to pinpoint a cause other than a group adapting to a local opportunity. The invasions after mass extinctions can also be thought of this way, it’s just that the opportunities become synchronized at a global scale.

Stay tuned for Part II.

 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:14 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
US judge to rule whether chimps have human rights or not

April 23, 2015
Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Chimps are people, too!

…or are they? That’s what a New York judge will decide after granting lawyers representing two chimpanzees from Stony Brook University to present arguments as to why their clients should be freed from captivity at the institution.

The complaint was initially filed by The Nonhuman Rights Project, and according to, officials at Stony Brook will now have to demonstrate that they have a reason to detain the duo during a hearing before New York County Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe on May 27.

Chimps (briefly) granted writ of habeas corpus

Earlier this week, Judge Jaffe issued an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the two chimps, Hercules and Leo, which are being used in biomedical experimentation at the Long Island-based university. It marked the first time non-human animals had been granted such a writ, and The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) hailed it as a triumph.

“Under the law of New York State, only a ‘legal person’ may have an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus issued in his or her behalf. The Court has therefore implicitly determined that Hercules and Leo are ‘persons,’” the organization said in a statement Monday.

The next day, however, Judge Jaffe amended her initial decision to strike references to the writ of habeas corpus, a doctrine used to protect humans against unlawful imprisonment. The order to show cause remains, and despite the change, the NhRP said that it was “grateful” for the chance “to litigate the issue of the freedom of the chimpanzees” at next month’s hearing.

An ongoing fight for non-human primate rights

The organization is asking that Hercules and Leo be released from the Stony Brook and sent to live out the rest of their days at an animal sanctuary in Florida. At the hearing, the university will present arguments as to why they have a legally sufficient reason to keep the creatures, according to NPR. Stony Brook decline Time’s request for comment on the case.

The lawsuit was originally filed in the Supreme Court of Suffolk County in December 2013, but a judge there declined to issue a writ of habeas corpus. An appellate court dismissed the NhRP’s appeal on the grounds that the group lacked the right to do so. Believing that both courts erred in their rulings, the NhRP and re-filed its petition last month in New York County Supreme Court.

New York courts have also previously declined to extend habeas corpus to Tommy and Kiko, a pair of privately-owned chimps also represented by the NhRP. The group has also appealed that decision, and a decision is pending in that matter.

 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:13 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Rad,

I´m open to however you would like to proceed with the thread. I like the idea of understanding how the ego is conditioned by the subconscious memories the Soul contains, as represented by Uranus. Maybe we can look at a couple more charts to understand these dynamics a bit better or go deeper into this chart.

 In the case of this person, from what you shared, it seems that one thing he would choose in this life, would be to be totally independent and rebel from man made religions or belief systems because of the traumas that he endured in past lives. This represented by the square from Uranus in Scorpio to the Nodal axis of Neptune in the Ninth and Third Houses. Another would be to be on his own, First House, in order to be secure that the rug would not be pulled from underneath his own two feet.

I would like to ask a question relative to past life memories and past life Ego structures. Past life memories correlate with Uranus as Uranus is long term memory but does the ability to consciously access these memories also correlate with Mercury?

And what about seeing the various past life ego´s one had, the ego´s themselves are represented the South Node of the Moon if i´m correct but then how could one separate the various past life ego´s from one another, if various ego´s are contained within the symbol of the South Node?

And also when seeing past life ego´s, what space is our awareness in? I ask this because I have been in a state in which I was able to see and experience two or three past life ego´s of my own and saw how we progressively evolve thru the emotional bodies of those ego´s and wonder what space are we in when we access those ego structures.

Thank you

All the best

 on: Apr 24, 2015, 05:13 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Construction crew finds dozens of dinosaur eggs in China

April 23, 2015
Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Of course something like this would happen with a new Jurassic Park movie on the horizon: Members of a construction crew working on a road in China’s Guangdong Province earlier this month discovered dozens of fossilized dinosaur eggs, according to media reports.

As the Huffington Post reported, the workers uncovered a total of 43 fossilized eggs while working on a road in the city of Heyuan in the southern part of the country. Nineteen of the eggs were described as fully intact, and the largest was more than seven inches in diameter.

It is currently not known what species the eggs belong to, but they have been sent to a museum in the city for analysis, according to ABC News. While this is the first time dinosaur eggs have been found in the city center, they are far for the first fossils found in the region.

“Hometown of the Dinosaur in China”

As The Verge explains, the local dinosaur museum in Heyuan was presented with a Guinness World Record in 2004 for having the largest collection of fossilized dinosaur eggs in the world. At the time, they had 10,008, and nearly 17,000 have been found there since 1996.

In April 2005, the city was officially declared “Hometown of the Dinosaur in China” during an international paleontology event, according to local media reports. Heyuan was honored by the China Geological Survey’s Stratum and Paleontology Center, as well as 40 paleontologists from the US, France, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Canada and Belgium.

At the time, Zhao Zikui from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeoanthropology said that dinosaur egg fossils recovered in China accounted for one-third the total amount found worldwide, and experts credit the red sandstone formations found in the city for helping to keep the fossilized eggs well preserved.

In addition to the thousands of fossilized eggs, at least eight preserved dinosaur skeletons and 168 dinosaur footprints have also been discovered in the region. The previously unearthed fossils were from the late Cretaceous, 65 million years ago, and seven belonged to the oviraptor family.

 on: Apr 23, 2015, 01:50 PM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Emily
Hi Emily,
Thanks for taking the time to work on this. Your analysis is very good and relevant to this Soul's reality. Please see below.

God Bless, Rad


This is what I see in the chart that I think speaks to the difficulty expressing emotion... (I apologize for being late in getting to this. And thank you for the opportunity to participate as a beginner.)

Uranus in Scorpio in the 1st house trine Mars in Cancer in the 9th seems to speak to the memory of a traumatic separation from the family at a young age in a prior life. The Moon in Leo in the 10th squaring Uranus also speaks to the emotional trauma/crisis experienced as child. Mars squaring Pluto in Libra in the 12th adds further emphasis to the crisis that was experienced, as well as to disillusionment - the loss of innocence and damaged trust. Also the potential for the loss of faith that love, safety and comfort exist or are available. The reality of the past was one in which it wasn't safe to express emotions and/or they weren't met with love and support.

I notice that the Pluto/Mars square, the Uranus/Jupiter Uranus/Moon squares and the Neptune/Saturn square are all last quarter squares. I understand that the phases don't directly correlate to signs and that the last quarter square is experienced as a crisis in consciousness, but does the last quarter phase have enough of an affinity with Aquarius that it can be directly interpreted as symbolizing trauma - or a key source of Uranian unconscious memories?


The last quarter phase does contain archetypes that correlate with Uranus so the answer is yes.


If these memories haven't been consciously processed but are operating at an unconscious level the Soul will be perhaps unconsciously expecting the worst - or a repeat of the situations from prior lives and this would affect the ability to open up emotionally in this life. The soul has experienced much trauma with all of the Uranus aspects and all of the planets in the 11th house - which can lead to dissociation from the emotional body. He has perhaps also internalized a lot of guilt and shame from any abuse suffered, with Virgo on the 11th and Mercury and Saturn in Virgo in the 11th - which may also contribute to it being difficult to express emotion. It seems that his emotional development was perhaps arrested at a young age, when he would have been so open and vulnerable. 6 or 7 years old falls within a time when children are, I think, forming more of a social identity. So to have this trauma occur at that time seems to have hindered healthy development at a time when he was maybe really needing to explore healthy relationships, heart-connection and be able to give and receive compassion and love (not that that's not needed all of the time)

Uranus opposing Chiron/Vesta/Lucifer in the 7th really stands out as well - reflecting perhaps the extremity of the trauma experienced and the shock of losing loving relationships and witnessing/experiencing the horrors that other people could commit.

The 11th house Saturn and Sun, squaring Neptune in the 2nd could indicate the shock to the body, loss of a sense of safety, confidence, joy and love. Also, I think the loss of a feeling of safety around expression of emotions is indicated with Mars in Cancer and its aspects, South Node in Pisces in the 4th and the Moon square Uranus. In a concentration camp, he would have been in survival mode and perhaps been cut off from his emotions due to being overwhelmed by them and not having the space or support to express them.

Pallas stands out to me too. Pallas in Aquarius in the 3rd squaring Uranus in Scorpio, Vesta, Chiron and Amazone in Taurus and opposing the Moon in Leo may speak to the strategy for survival that he had to adopt in an extreme situation? Letting go of what wasn't absolutely necessary, just trying to stay alive. Also perhaps to having rebelled and that not gone so well? Or to having spoken at an inopportune time? Or simply to not having his voice heard, his cries not met with comfort and love, and in fact met with very harsh words instead.?


Yes to all of this.


Also, the connection of Aquarius to the lungs/breath stands out to me in relation to how he died and to the connection of calm, deep breathing with being able to express emotion. Perhaps Capricorn on the cusp of the 3rd and some of Aquarius in the 3rd, reflects his breath/voice/emotions being repressed. There is perhaps a lot of grief here as well. Finally, I also think of fight/flight/freeze here - the freezing being a natural response to stress - and maybe emotions being stressful for a nervous system that is overwhelmed due to trauma from the past.


Yes. And, in fact, when he was younger he had severe asthma, intense sleepwalking wherein he lost connection to the the current life by way of reliving what happened in his last life in the concentration camps, and would also stop breathing during sleep.


God Bless, Rad

 on: Apr 23, 2015, 07:51 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Neighbors at war over feeding of crows in Portage Bay

Originally published April 22, 2015 at 7:29 pm Updated April 23, 2015 at 6:30 am

When one family began feeding crows in the Portage Bay neighborhood of view homes, and attracting them in large numbers, a nearly two-year neighborhood battle ensued.

By Erik Lacitis
Seattle Times staff reporter

Crows are among the brightest of animals, able to recognize faces, to work for cheese. They are part of mythology in various cultures. In early Asian beliefs, having a crow fly in front of you was bad luck; finding a dead one on the road was good luck.

But in the Portage Bay neighborhood in Seattle, crows have been at the center of an epic, nearly two-year neighborhood battle.

Even the cops have been called in.

Crow facts

• There are 40 species of crows, and they live everywhere except Antarctica.

• They have 250 different calls. A distress call brings other crows to their defense.

• Crows will eat practically anything — road-kill, fast food, mice. An adult crow needs nearly ¾ of a pound of food daily.

• The origin of “eating crow” has been lost. In one version, during the War of 1812, a British officer made an American soldier eat part of a crow he had shot in British territory.

Sources: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, PBS Nature, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

And it’s all been about one family feeding crows in an apparent never-ending buffet.  

There is just something about crows that brings out the emotions and, oh, accusations have flown.

One set of neighbors around the 1000 block of East Shelby Street says their homes have been carpet-bombed by avian poop.

Some 50 signed a petition asking the city to intervene.

Neighbors say that having anywhere from 30 to 100 crows hovering during feedings made them feel like they were in Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film, “The Birds.”

So it surprised the neighbors when in February a glowing story about the family feeding the birds titled “The girl who gets gifts from birds” appeared on BBC News and then was reprinted in Crosscut, an online Seattle publication.

After that, versions of the story appeared at numerous sites such as the UK’s Daily Mail.

The story was about the 8-year-old daughter of Lisa and Gary Mann, and how crows would leave her gifts when she fed them — an earring, a polished rock, “anything shiny and small enough to fit in a crow’s mouth.”

The story says the daughter was “prone to dropping food” when getting out of the car, which the crows would rush to recover. As she grew older, the daughter would share her school lunch with the crows, says the story, and the crows would line up in the afternoon to greet her.

Then the gifts began appearing.

Nowhere in the feel-good story was the neighborhood tension mentioned.

Katy Sewall, author of the story, says that Lisa Mann never mentioned those hassles.

Meanwhile, tensions escalated.

Here they come! Caw, caw, caw!

Neighbors say they got used to being awakened by that sound. They say the crows soon were joined by large numbers of pigeons also looking for a handout, plus rats.

Yes, nerves got frayed.

On the other side, the family feeding the crows set up video surveillance.

Lisa Mann says in an email that neighbors have directed “vitriol and shouting” not just to her but also “my two young children whose love for these birds is how all our passion for all birds came to be.” In emails, Mann agreed to be interviewed for this story, but was unable to schedule a time over several weeks.

Neighbors say the kids haven’t been shouted at, although certainly there have been confrontations between them and Lisa Mann. Neighbors say that generally they haven’t interacted much with Mann’s husband, Gary Mann, an oncologist.

Christine Yokan, a pension fund investment manager who lives next to the Manns, itemizes:

“Heavy bird feces on and around neighbors’ houses was causing damage to buildings and vehicle paint, and occasionally, disgustingly, landing on neighbors themselves. Properties were being littered with food scraps; peanuts and shells were being strewn on the lawns of families with allergic children …”

Yokan says there certainly was shouting, but at the crows.

“Many neighbors including myself definitely have shouted at the birds to go away many times, including when the Mann family was in the yard feeding. Some neighbors, including me, would bang pans to drive them away,” she says.

Janice Palm, a psychotherapist who lives across the alley from the Manns, says that when her granddaughter comes over, “I don’t like her to go to the backyard, it’s so filthy back there.”

Palm says she gave up putting “lovely spring flowers” in her planters. The crows, she says, “are just pulling up the plants and throwing dirt around.”

One confrontation took place on July 29, 2013. A Seattle police report tells of Lisa Mann calling the cops, saying she was in an argument with a neighbor up the hill. Mann told police she was berated by the neighbor, “by telling her that the cawing of the crows keeps him awake at night …”

The previous night, Mann told the cops, she had heard what sounded like rifle shots, and then saw that same man “emerge above some hedges.” But, Mann admitted, she didn’t see him holding a weapon.

Officers told the neighbors that it is illegal to shoot off an air gun within the city limits.

The neighborhood battle continued.

The neighbors contacted City Council members and city agencies.

Eventually, this past January, an investigator for Public Health — Seattle & King County visited the Mann property.

Leah Helms, the investigator, issued a notice of violation for bird food accessible to rats, and said bird feed needed to be at 3 ½ feet above ground, on smooth poles and other measures.

About the crows, she says, “it’s not unlawful to feed birds. We solely deal with rats.”

On a return visit in March, the investigator said that the Manns had complied with the measures.

John Marzluff, a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington, and a crow expert, says he has heard from both sides of the Portage Bay crow battle.

“The technical way to describe what happened is that the crows have surpassed the cultural capacity for that neighborhood,” says Marzluff.

Yes, that’s a polite way of describing things.

In one email, Lisa Mann says that her neighbor to the east, Matt Ashbach, an ear, nose and throat doctor, took a dead crow “and illegally hung it in effigy off of his third-floor balcony of his million-dollar mansion.”

She also says her surveillance cameras showed “an adult male” on Ashbach’s property “at our fence line” in “the exact spot” where a dead rat was found on the Manns’ property. Mann writes that the rat had been killed in a rat trap and put on her property as “ ‘evidence’ of a rat infestation” for Helms to find when she visited later that same day.

Ashbach says he did use rat traps after seeing “rats in my backyard all over the place.”

As for the video showing him in his backyard, Ashbach says he parks his car in the back, and “I’m in the backyard every morning around dawn as I leave for work.”

He also says he did find a dead crow and hung it from his balcony, which was a method he learned to keep crows away when growing up on a farm.

He says he likes crows, just not in such large numbers.

Marzluff says that crows are very smart birds, and hanging one of their dead brethren sends them the message to keep away.

Anyway, Don Jordan, head of the Seattle Animal Shelter, says, “There is no law prohibiting someone from hanging a dead crow.”

In any case. Ashbach took down the crow. He says he’s tired of the confrontations.

The neighbors report that the feeding of the crows has lessened considerably lately.

It appears that the Great Crow Battle will end for good in a few weeks.

In an email, Lisa Mann says that “we are moving to Houston this summer as my husband accepted a surgical faculty position …”

Needless to say, the neighbors can’t wait.


UW professor learns crows don’t forget a face

Originally published August 26, 2008 at 12:00 am Updated April 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Crows and their relatives — among them ravens, magpies and jays — are renowned for their intelligence and for their ability to flourish in human-dominated landscapes...

By Michelle Nijhuis

Crows and their relatives — among them ravens, magpies and jays — are renowned for their intelligence and for their ability to flourish in human-dominated landscapes.

That ability may have to do with cross-species social skills. In the Seattle area, where rapid suburban growth has attracted a thriving crow population, researchers have found that the birds can recognize individual human faces.

John Marzluff, a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington, has studied crows and ravens for more than 20 years and has long wondered if the birds could identify individual researchers. Previously trapped birds seemed more wary of particular scientists, and often were harder to catch. “I thought, ‘Well, it’s an annoyance, but it’s not really hampering our work,’ ” Marzluff said. “But then I thought we should test it directly.”

To test the birds’ recognition of faces separately from that of clothing, gait and other individual human characteristics, Marzluff and two students wore rubber masks. He designated a caveman mask as “dangerous” and, in a deliberate gesture of civic generosity, a Dick Cheney mask as “neutral.” Researchers in the dangerous mask then trapped and banded seven crows on the university’s campus in Seattle.   

In the months that followed, the researchers and volunteers donned the masks on campus, this time walking prescribed routes and not bothering crows.

The crows had not forgotten. They scolded people in the dangerous mask significantly more than they did before they were trapped, even when the mask was disguised with a hat or worn upside down. The neutral mask provoked little reaction.

The effect has not only persisted, but also multiplied over the past two years. Wearing the dangerous mask on one recent walk through campus, Marzluff said, he was scolded by 47 of the 53 crows he encountered, many more than had experienced or witnessed the initial trapping.

The researchers hypothesize that crows learn to recognize threatening humans from both parents and others in their flock.

“Spectacular” results

After their experiments on campus, Marzluff and his students tested the effect with more realistic masks. Using a half-dozen students as models, they enlisted a professional mask maker, then wore the new masks while trapping crows at several sites in and around Seattle. The researchers then gave a mix of neutral and dangerous masks to volunteer observers who, unaware of the masks’ histories, wore them at the trapping sites and recorded the crows’ responses.

The reaction to one of the dangerous masks was “quite spectacular,” said one volunteer, Bill Pochmerski, a retired telephone-company manager who lives near Snohomish. “The birds were really raucous, screaming persistently,” he said, “and it was clear they weren’t upset about something in general. They were upset with me.”

Again, crows were significantly more likely to scold observers who wore a dangerous mask, and when confronted simultaneously by observers in dangerous and neutral masks, the birds almost unerringly chose to persecute the dangerous face.

In downtown Seattle, where most passers-by ignore crows, angry birds nearly touched their human foes. In rural areas, where crows are more likely to be viewed as noisy “flying rats” and shot, the birds expressed their displeasure from a distance.

Though Marzluff’s is the first formal study of human-face recognition in wild birds, his preliminary findings confirm the suspicions of many other researchers who have observed similar abilities in crows, ravens, gulls and other species.

The pioneering animal behaviorist Konrad Lorenz was so convinced of the perceptive capacities of crows and their relatives that he wore a devil costume when handling jackdaws.

Stacia Backensto, a master’s student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who studies ravens in the oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope, has assembled an elaborate costume — including a fake beard and a potbelly made of pillows — because she believes her face and body are familiar to previously captured birds.

Kevin McGowan, an ornithologist at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology who has trapped and banded crows in upstate New York for 20 years, said he was regularly followed by birds who have benefited from his handouts of peanuts — and harassed by others he has trapped in the past.

Talent for recognition

Why crows and similar species are so closely attuned to humans is a matter of debate. Bernd Heinrich, a professor emeritus at the University of Vermont known for his books on raven behavior, suggested that crows’ apparent ability to distinguish among human faces is a “byproduct of their acuity,” an outgrowth of their unusually keen ability to recognize one another, even after many months of separation.

McGowan and Marzluff believe that this ability gives crows and their brethren an evolutionary edge.

“If you can learn who to avoid and who to seek out, that’s a lot easier than continually getting hurt,” Marzluff said. “I think it allows these animals to survive with us — and take advantage of us — in a much safer, more effective way.”

 on: Apr 23, 2015, 07:28 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi All,

If any of you have any more questions and/or observations about the chart we have been working with please let me know. If not, we will move on. If any of you have ideas/ suggestions about how you would like to proceed with this thread let me know.

God Bless, Rad

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