Anti-Caturday: A Parliament of Rooks

Rook

Rooks are a species in the corvidae family, that is the same family as crows, ravens and magpies. As such they’re intelligent birds that eat insects, grains and carrion. They can use tools and even make them when necessary. They’re also highly social with a language distinct enough for even humans to tell between different types of calls.

The coolest thing about rooks though is the group. A group of rooks can have many names such as building, parliament and a storytelling (you can bet your pretty little ass that last one struck my fancy). They live in societies and besides the Sandman story that inspired the headline there are multiple legends of rooks gathering in a group where one or two isolated birds will “talk” for a while and after they’re done they all either leave together or the ones in the center will get pecked to death. Some have termed it a trial, and that’s certainly what it seems to be in the case of community transgressors. Neil Gaiman’s story deems it a bird telling a story and getting some swift feedback.

Rook

Hola 2013!

2013 is here! And quite a year it’s going to be. In two weeks I’m going to apply to Clarion West at the very least and also possibly to Clarion (there’s something going on in my day job that I want to see through before deciding on whether to apply to Clarion). And whether or not I get into Clarion there’s all kinds of awesome things coming up all through the year!

A couple of years ago I enrolled into a Creative Writing class at the learning annex and until my schedule started conflicting this last fall, I’ve been attending it. While I was there I we met biweekly and each meeting we got a writing prompt as homework. And in one of those homework prompts I had a young woman at her grandmother’s funeral. Then the next time I just continued her story and the next and the next. Now it looks like the schedule conflict won’t be going away anytime soon and I want to get back to that story so starting next Wednesday I’ll start publishing the scenes I’ve already written here and when I run out, start writing new ones, probably biweekly based on writing prompts you guys will hopefully provide me with.

As of May the dog will be old enough to start competing so I’m kind of looking forward to humiliating myself on the field of (obedience) battle.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Anti-Caturday: Talk Like a Fairy

superb fairy wren male

At first glance fairywrens seem like your typical insectivorous bird. But they are so not. While these birds have monogamous relationships in the sense that a couple will mate for life they are also at the same time sexually promiscuous in that the paired female will still mate with other males too. And the practically unheard of thing is that once the female has laid eggs and those eggs hatch, the other males will help take care of the young right along with the couple. Talk about taking a village.

But the really interesting thing about fairywrens is that they love to talk smack. Yes, when a predator rolls around and any sane bird will try to keep its head as far down as possible, the male fairy wren will start chirping its head off. Why, you may ask (although I suspect you may already have a clue). Why else? To impress the ladies. To be perfectly honest it’s a little surprising there are any left the way the males practically throw themselves in front of any and all predators, all in the name of love. I suppose they should have had a talk with Meatloaf first.

Malurus cyaneus (Superb Fairy-wren)