Thread: News Miscellany
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:06 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Furrin parts
Default Re: News Miscellany

Dick Eussen thought he had the fire beat. It was stuck on one side of a highway deep in the Australian outback. But it didn’t look set to jump. And then, suddenly, without warning or obvious cause, it did.

Eussen, a veteran firefighter in the Northern Territory, set off after the new flames. He found them, put them out, then looked up into the sky.

What he saw sounds now like something out of a fairy tale or dark myth. A whistling kite, wings spread, held a burning twig in its talons. It flew about 20 metres ahead of Eussen and dropped the ember into the brittle grass.

And the fire kicked off once again.

All told that day, Eussen put out seven new flare-ups, according to a research paper published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology. All of them, he claims, were caused by the birds and their burning sticks.

What’s more, the paper argues, the birds might well have been doing it on purpose.

Raptors, including the whistling kite, are intentionally spreading grass fires in northern Australia, the paper argues. The reason: to flush out prey and feast.
Australian birds have weaponized fire
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