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The Wildlife Watch Binocular Summer 2005 Issue

EYE ON THE NEWS

CHICKADEES HAVE COMPLEX CODES

Biologists have reported that chickadees convey complex information about predators. According to Chris Templeton, a biology student who has studied their chirps, chickadees actually communicate details. A string of 6 to 10 “D” notes means there is a serious threat. The biologist says that their warnings are related to the body size of the predator. Small predators are viewed as more dangerous because they are often swifter.

Small owls, for example, generate more alarm than larger raptors. Chickadees are quite able to avoid larger clumsier birds. Biologists say that no one has realized the complexity of the birds’ communication because some features can’t be heard but only seen in a sonogram. Other studies have shown that birds dream, rehearse their songs, and have regional dialects.

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH JOINS ACTIVISTS TO SAVE PARROTS

The Roman Catholic Church and parrot activists are asking worshippers not to cut the leaves of wax palms on the slopes of the Andes for Palm Sunday Services. There are only 540 yellow-eared parrots thought to be left in the wild, and they live in wax palms. The Church is providing seeds and education to worshipers to plant other types of palm trees for their fronds.

FOR BUTTERFLY WATCHERS

The Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center in Pine Mountain, Georgia has reopened a 14,000 acre nature and recreation center in the Appalachian foothills. There will be 1,000 tropical butterflies and lush flowers that provide the insects with nectar. The Center is about 70 miles southwest of Atlanta. www.callaway gardens.com

BAD NEWS FOR MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Monarch butterflies are dying in Mexico. While weather is considered to be one of the reasons, the problems include loss of habitat due to logging and the spraying of pesticides and other poisons. The population has declined by 75%. Logging can create climatic changes.

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