Friday, July 13, 2012

Crows and Frogs

The other day Justin and I were wandering on the next door church property and we spotted a Crow hopping on the ground not far from us. As we approached it didn't take off as it usually would, but hopped along for quite a ways and then finally flapped it's way up into a neighbour's lilac bush. Even there, it let us approach quite close. I ran back to the house and grabbed the camera expecting it to be gone by the time I returned. It had remained in the same spot and in the end, we wonder if it was possibly infected with West Nile virus. It had very little fear of us and was for the most part, unable to fly with no real evidence of injury.

American Crow

West Nile Disease is not transmittable by direct contact with a bird as it has to be transmitted through the blood which happens through mosquitoes. So there was no risk at getting this close. Being the Canada Day Long Weekend, a call to the local Health Unit only got a poison contact person, and a message left with Canada Wildlife Hotline was never returned. We saw the bird later in the day getting a lot of attention (seeming unfriendly, but hard to tell) by a few other crows, but never saw it again after that.

American Crow - with West Nile Virus?

The Crow is really an amazing bird, though many consider the seemingly drab, plain, black coloured bird a nuisance. They are very smart with more intelligence than parrots, and some consider them to be more intelligent than Apes. I posted a link of a video of a crow snowboarding, which is quite comical and creative. They are notorious collectors, and will employ very ingenious methods to obtain and get at food.

I've tried to get pictures of them in the past without being able to get close enough for a worthwhile photo. Ironic, as it's very typical of them to remain just barely off in the shoulder, having figured out your speeding car will predictably stay on the paved road. This is in comparison to other birds which, you may or may not have noticed, will usually flee to the nearby fence or hydro wire as you approach.

Did you know that a flock of crows is called a "murder"? Crows are omniverous, eating meat (including roadkill) as well as fruit and nuts and seeds.

A noble head.

The other day we found this Gray Treefrog in our backyard. They are amazing little creatures for a number of reasons. Their ability to cling to the surfaces of leaves and branches is quite amazing. They accomplish this with a combination of tools. The pads of their toes actually have many tiny, adjustable, hexagonal, column-like protrusions which can slip into miniature cracks and variations in the surface it is clinging too. They also secrete mucus from their toes which adds surface tension helping to keep them attached.

Gray Tree Frog

Many tree frogs are also able to change their colours to camouflage themselves for protection. The Grey Tree Frog can change its colour from its namesake gray to green. They also have a feature which is common in the insect and amphibian world - the use of warning colour. Many insects use bright colours to show to predators that they are poisonous or taste awful. And other mimic this though they may actually be tasty. The Gray Tree Frog has bright yellow patches in hidden portions its thighs. These spots are well hidden when tightly holding onto a leaf or branch, but when stretched out, they easily catch your attention.

Gray Tree Frog warning pose.

A couple times while taking pictures (I admit to putting him back on a nearby tree for another couple pictures), it hopped down onto our deck and struck this pose. The pose seemed very purposeful as it even adjusted its position and then stuck its rear end in the air, prominently displaying the splashes of bright yellow warning colour. 

Now here is a question - how would that frog know those spots were even there? Unless it had approached a set of mirrors, it can't even see its back end. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you shouldn't be surprised to know that I believe the world and all we see was created, not evolved. To me, this is another interesting pointer that creatures were created with very purposeful designs, many features of which the creature itself doesn't even "know" but uses with built in instincts. Feel free to comment or email me if you think otherwise. :)

We're off the lodge with Holly's family for some vacation and who knows what I'll see up there. Hope to come back with some pictures to share!

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