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  #1476  
Old 08-05-2017, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Time to track the dangerous immigrant down and prepare some Amerikaanse rode rivierkreeft met zelfgemaakte croutons.

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  #1477  
Old 08-05-2017, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

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Many people in the U.S. (particularly the Southeastern U.S.) consider crayfish to be very good eating, and I would certainly recommend that you round up and cook as many of the Procambarus as you can, if only to reduce their numbers and thus their impacts upon native species.
and a crawfish pie and a filé gumbo ...
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  #1478  
Old 08-05-2017, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

The cooking program host also said herons, muskrats (Muskrat - Wikipedia) and zanders (Zander - Wikipedia) love the invaders too.
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  #1479  
Old 08-05-2017, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

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Many people in the U.S. (particularly the Southeastern U.S.) consider crayfish to be very good eating...
and a crawfish pie and a filé gumbo ...
They's all kinds of ways to eat crawfish...
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Like tossing them in the garbage… :unnod:
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  #1481  
Old 08-16-2017, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

OK, I have a question. I just posted in Miscellany that some hawks were probably eating a cottontail in my front yard, and there are some pictures.

There was a huge cacophany of screeching and screaming, worse than usual, which is why I went to look, and then the two pictured hawks were in the front yard, and the bigger one was all busy while the smaller one mostly just watched it (and of course yelled a lot).

Well, they just left, so I went out to go see how big a murder scene was in the yard, and it looks like it's all feathers? Like down and red hawk looking feathers. But also it's attracting flies already, so is meat attached? Was that guy just grooming himself? Or did that bigger hawk kill the third hawk? Because this minute, I'm only seeing the two again, but I'll keep my eye out for the third one.

I guess I can go take a picture of the scene of the crime if that would help. Or I do have some crime tape around here somewhere. I could cordon it off and try to preserve the scene until you get out here to do forensics.
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  #1482  
Old 08-16-2017, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

From the pictures, they appear to be Red-Tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). One of the pictures clearly shows that one of them is holding a feather in its beak, so I'd say that one or both of them apparently killed a bird of some sort. If they were simply grooming, you'd probably not be seeing so many feathers as seem to be present, from your description. And if they were grooming, you wouldn't be seeing big flight feathers on the ground; only smaller, fluffier downy feathers, in all likelihood.


Without seeing the feathers, I couldn't say what kind of bird produced them, but it's unlikely that one or both of the hawks that you're seeing killed the third. While it's not unknown for young hawks to kill their siblings, these are more or less mature birds, and it's highly unusual for fledged hawks to attack and kill each other.

Red-tails commonly prey upon pigeons or other relatively large birds, so my best guess is that one of them killed a pigeon or other bird, and that's the source of the feathers. They don't actually eat the feathers of any birds they kill (feathers are nearly indigestible); usually, they'll rip out as many of a bird's feathers as they can before eating it. Between stabbing their victims with those dagger-like talons and then ripping out the feathers, red-tails tend to leave a lot of bloody feathers lying about whenever they kill and eat a bird.



If the third hawk has disappeared, it's likely that it has simply moved on. The young hawks should be just at the age where they're moving away from their parents (sometimes with some forceful "encouragement" by the parents) and establishing hunting territories of their own.
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  #1483  
Old 08-16-2017, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Oh, yeah, they're almost definitely red tails, but here is what I'm talking about with the crime scene:

crimescene.JPG

I just can't imagine what other type of bird those big orange feathers could have come from, at least around here. (There are more of the big feathers scattered out of frame, too.)

And it's also weird that there were only three of them out flying around for a single day. They usually seem to hang around together for quite a bit longer than that. Last year, the fledglings didn't leave for a week or so.

:plzhold:

OK. Got louder than usual again, so I just checked, mid-poast, and now there are four of them. I just have no idea about anything anymore.
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  #1484  
Old 08-16-2017, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Hmm ... most interesting. Those do appear to be red-tail feathers. But unless there have been some strong winds to blow most of them away, there don't seem to be enough to indicate that one of the hawks was killed and eaten -- besides, you'd expect there to be blood and perhaps a few remaining body parts in that case.


So, my best current guess is that there was some sort of territorial squabble and/or the parents were being aggressive about ejecting a youngster who didn't want to leave -- and somebody lost some feathers in the struggle.
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  #1485  
Old 08-16-2017, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

The feather atlas helps you to identify birds from their feathers. That link takes you to the Band-Tailed Pigeon wing feathers which look kinda similar. I looked at some of the Red-tailed Hawk feathers on that same site and they looked different to me. :shrug:

But I must admit I got tired of searching before I looked at them all and came here to post this so that someone else can do the hard work.

:control:

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  #1486  
Old 08-16-2017, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Maybe a Northern Flicker.
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  #1487  
Old 08-16-2017, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

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Or I do have some crime tape around here somewhere. I could cordon it off and try to preserve the scene until you get out here to do forensics.
Please do so. Preservation of evidence is vital in situations where a murder may have been committed.
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  #1488  
Old 08-17-2017, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Yeah, Northern Flicker was my other thought. The patterns on the side and asymmetrical vane makes me think that they might be from a juvenile red-tail, but if the feathers are the result of predation, then the hawks wouldn't have left much of a relatively small bird like a flicker behind, which would explain the lack of blood or body parts.
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  #1489  
Old 08-17-2017, 05:22 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

If it helps, I'm sure I could wrangle up a vb script so we can have a gui to search for things.

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  #1490  
Old 08-17-2017, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

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If it helps, I'm sure I could wrangle up a vb script so we can have a gui to search for things.

:unrun:
Please do so.
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  #1491  
Old 08-24-2017, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Ooooh I have one!

A sustainability enthusiast I know uses a composting toilet. Well, I say toilet. It is basically a bucket. The result is then covered in sawdust, moved to a compost station, where the contents of a bucket are deposited, and then covered in some more sawdust to create a nice layered deposit.

No problem so far, but apparently he also intends to start drinking water from his own pond. Without treating it. This seems a bit risky to me, but according to him, as long as you only take water from the middle of the pond (or something) this is fine.

I asked if he wasn't worried about basically providing a perfect environment for some nasty pathogens: from his gut to the compost, then on to the land, this washes into his pond, he drinks the pondwater.

Not at all, says he: the composting system is so efficient that the bacteria that break down his poo and the sawdust outcompete the various nasties, so the levels of these pathogens never get high enough to pose a problem to his pondwater.

I would say that is nonsense: unless you treat the compost somehow, there is bound to be plenty of nasties left, even if they are not likely to be in the same concentration. Besides, don't they breed quite happily in the pond itself as well, so you really do not even need that many of them to create some seriously unhealthy conditions?

However, this is just something I assume - is there something I am missing? Does the composting process allow other bacteria to outcompete the nasties until there are so few left they are no longer a threat?

Incidentally, the compost station has a base made out of old crates and wood. It does not even have a roof over it. Rain gets in and god knows what is leaking out the bottom of it :gross:
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  #1492  
Old 08-24-2017, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Composting toilet: :cutthecrap:
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  #1493  
Old 08-24-2017, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Well ... there's a grain of truth to what he says. But I wouldn't drink untreated water from his pond, that's for sure.


Most of the nasty pathogens that would initially be present in the fecal matter and urine [no, despite popular opinion to the contrary, urine is not sterile] are adapted to live in low-oxygen environments or are even anaerobic.

What you want to do in a properly-designed composter is encourage colonization by thermophilic aerobic bacteria. As they decompose the waste matter, they'll generate heat. It's essential -- let me repeat that, it is essential -- to keep the compost well-turned so that the whole mass is properly aerated. If it is sufficiently aerated and if there are enough of the thermophilic aerobic bacteria present, they'll quickly decompose the compost, raising its temperature in the process. Thermophilic aerobic bacteria can bring the temperature of a compost pile up to 70 degrees Celsius or more as they decompose organic matter. That's what you want. Temperatures of 70 degrees or more will kill most of the pathogens that are present in the compost. If your compost heap isn't getting that hot (because of exposure to the elements, because it isn't being properly aerated, etc.) you almost-certainly aren't killing the pathogenic organisms present in the compost -- and any pathogenic organisms that get washed into the pond by rainwater are likely to do perfectly well there.

Even if there wasn't composting going on right next to it, there are plenty of other avenues for pathogenic organisms (and toxic chemicals) to end up in the pond. Unless he's had the water properly tested, he shouldn't assume that that it's free of pathogens and potentially dangerous chemicals. At the very least, I'd insist on boiling the water before drinking it.
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  #1494  
Old 08-24-2017, 04:53 PM
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No problem so far, but apparently he also intends to start drinking water from his own pond. Without treating it. This seems a bit risky to me, but according to him, as long as you only take water from the middle of the pond (or something) this is fine.
LOL no. Unless he has some plan for keeping water fowl from pooping in his pond.
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  #1495  
Old 08-24-2017, 05:11 PM
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I asked if he wasn't worried about basically providing a perfect environment for some nasty pathogens: from his gut to the compost, then on to the land, this washes into his pond, he drinks the pondwater.

Not at all, says he: the composting system is so efficient that the bacteria that break down his poo and the sawdust outcompete the various nasties, so the levels of these pathogens never get high enough to pose a problem to his pondwater.
There are other possibilities, one is that he has built up resistance to the pathogens and is immune to their effect, so it would be unsafe for others to drink the water. Also if they are the same pathogens that are already in his body, he is just adding more to the colony that is already there. Though mutations could be a problem. Someone I know who worked in a sewage disposal plant said there is usually no problem if you are ingesting pathogens that are your own, but other peoples, could be a problem.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

I remember on a boiling hot day while climbing a mountain in the Lake District, I was very thirsty, having already drunk all the water I took with me. I happened across a small mountain stream and thought, "What could be purer than that?" although, in truth, I was so thirsty that I would have drunk straight from a lake.

Anyway, I tried the water from the stream and it was delicious, cold and fresh: I drank a few pints direct from the stream and also refilled my water bottle.

Carrying on climbing up alongside the stream I rounded a bend to find a large dead sheep lying across the stream - it had obviously been dead for quite some time and was being enjoyed by a big cloud of bluebottle flies.

I didn't fall ill in the following days so no harm done - but since then, when I find a mountain stream, I try to follow it up to where it's just a trickle emerging from the ground before I take a drink.
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  #1497  
Old 08-24-2017, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

Not a good idea around here, even without dead sheep. Pretty high risk of giardia.
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  #1498  
Old 08-24-2017, 09:21 PM
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Not a good idea around here, even without dead sheep. Pretty high risk of giardia.
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  #1499  
Old 08-24-2017, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: A Question For The Lone Ranger

That was my thought, fecal bacteria is only half the battle.
It seems odd to go through so much trouble without adding a solar still or other grey water evaporation and collection system.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:38 PM
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That was my thought, fecal bacteria is only half the battle.
It seems odd to go through so much trouble without adding a solar still or other grey water evaporation and collection system.
Seriously ... if you're doing composting right, water purification is totes simple.
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