South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1379
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Fishnut » Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:20 am

Sabrina Schalz is researching urban evolutionary ecology in crows and is asking the public to send in any crow feathers they find. If you're in London, Essex, Kent and Buckinghamshire and find a black feather then please collect it and contact her, either via Twitter @sabrinaschalz or by email SS3903@live.mdx.ac.uk.
Screenshot 2021-07-10 at 12.19.56.png
Screenshot 2021-07-10 at 12.19.56.png (113.24 KiB) Viewed 526 times
it's okay to say "I don't know"

bagpuss
Catbabel
Posts: 896
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by bagpuss » Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:13 pm

Entirely coincidentally, the bagkitten picked up 3 black feathers a couple of weeks ago, in Buckinghamshire, and has kept them. I've just asked her and she is willing to donate 1 to Science, so I'll be in touch with Sabrina in the next day or so. :D

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1379
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Fishnut » Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:39 pm

Wonderful! That's very generous of bagkitten :D
it's okay to say "I don't know"

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6399
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:22 pm

I've put my sister in central London on the case too ;)

But yes, welcome to ornithology Bagkitten!
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
Aitch
Fuzzable
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:53 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Aitch » Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:52 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:22 pm
...
But yes, welcome to ornithology Bagkitten!
Or possibly Goth millinery... ;)
Some people call me strange.
I prefer unconventional.
But I'm willing to compromise and accept eccentric
.

philbo
Sindis Poop
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:06 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by philbo » Sun Jul 11, 2021 7:21 am

Only a couple of days ago I was commenting on the hundreds of corvids (I'm not very good at discerning species of crow, I'm afraid) flocking on the farm behind the house.. I'll have a look for black feathers (now, if I could train cats to bring them back, we'd be swimming in the things :-) )

IvanV
Fuzzable
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by IvanV » Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:18 am

Do we have any info what "crow" means for these purposes?

Or does Sabrina assume we can't tell the difference between carrion crow, rook, jackdaw and raven feathers and she'll pick out the ones of interest? The first two are pretty difficult for most people to distinguish, and many can't distinguish the others either. Not that ravens are much seen in the SE, I think I have only once seen one in Bucks.

What about magpie and jay feathers?

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 1920
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:24 am

Probably best just to send found black feathers and let Sabrina sort them out without worrying too much over species identification, I'd think.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

Tntp
Ghastly Pink
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:33 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Tntp » Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:26 am

Don’t forget choughs. Though I doubt if there are any in the SE.

Tntp
Ghastly Pink
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:33 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Tntp » Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:28 am

Or hooded crows. Again, none of those in the SE. They’ve got black and grey feathers.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 1920
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:47 am

I think this is probably not the best thread for naming species of corvids which aren't in the south east, given that someone is interested in corvids which are in the south east.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

User avatar
Stephanie
After Pie
Posts: 2177
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: clinging tenaciously to your buttocks

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Stephanie » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:11 am

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:18 am
Do we have any info what "crow" means for these purposes?

Or does Sabrina assume we can't tell the difference between carrion crow, rook, jackdaw and raven feathers and she'll pick out the ones of interest? The first two are pretty difficult for most people to distinguish, and many can't distinguish the others either. Not that ravens are much seen in the SE, I think I have only once seen one in Bucks.

What about magpie and jay feathers?
i mean, there's an email address right there if you wanted to ask her
"I got a flu virus named after me 'cause I kissed a bat on a dare."

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6399
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:26 am

My sister had the same concern about identifying feathers, and to be honest I wouldn't know off the top of my head how to identify species of an all-black feather either.

However, I checked the original tweet and they're doing genetic research, and the assay includes species identification, so folks can just send plausible feathers and they'll sort it out. https://twitter.com/sabrinaschalz/statu ... 77153?s=19

This is why I like capitalising species names, though. That way a crow is any corvid, whereas a Crow (in SE England) is a Carrion Crow. But whatevs, it was just a tweet and not even journals agree on the convention.
..
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
Gfamily
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2747
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:00 pm
Location: NW England

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by Gfamily » Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:50 am

PSA
"A crow in a crowd is a rook and a rook on its own is a crow", old phrase

https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/bi ... re-to-see/
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
Meta? I'd say so!

User avatar
basementer
Catbabel
Posts: 933
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm
Location: Aotearoa
Contact:

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by basementer » Mon Jul 12, 2021 4:10 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:50 am
PSA
"A crow in a crowd is a rook and a rook on its own is a crow", old phrase
Thus we have "rookery" in English, but not AFAIK "crowery".
Money is just a substitute for luck anyway. - Tom Siddell

IvanV
Fuzzable
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by IvanV » Mon Jul 12, 2021 4:30 pm

I checked with Sabrina and she is researching Carrion Crows.
Given the difficulty of distinguishing the black corvids, she is accepting black feathers and testing them for the species.

But if you already know it is from a rook or jackdaw, etc, then they are not useful.

bagpuss
Catbabel
Posts: 896
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by bagpuss » Wed Jul 14, 2021 2:09 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:50 am
PSA
"A crow in a crowd is a rook and a rook on its own is a crow", old phrase

https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/bi ... re-to-see/
Pretty much what my Dad taught me - "If you see a rook, it's a crow, if you see crows, they're rooks". But I rather like the crow in a crowd version as it makes it easier to remember which way round it goes. Not so much of an issue for me as I grew up with a bedroom view of a rookery (before the trees were all cut down thanks to Dutch Elm Disease, that is) so I find it easy to get it the right way round but the bagkitten can't always remember which it is. I shall now teach her the crow in a crowd version, so thank you.

tom p
Dorkwood
Posts: 1107
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:14 pm
Location: the low countries

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by tom p » Wed Jul 14, 2021 3:09 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:47 am
I think this is probably not the best thread for naming species of corvids which aren't in the south east, given that someone is interested in corvids which are in the south east.
Dammit, I was going to post lists of corvids from all over the world to show off that I can google them.
Spoiler:

philbo
Sindis Poop
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:06 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by philbo » Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:57 pm

Apparently we don't have carrion crows, they're different corvids, according to local birdy types :-(

The magpies seem to like talking to the cats, the others are a bit more circumspect

User avatar
rockdoctor
Clardic Fug
Posts: 203
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:52 am
Location: Paddington, London

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by rockdoctor » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:02 pm

Apropos of very little, we were in our central London garden a few weeks back when a murder of crows (and two magpies) started making a huge noise in the neighbour's massive pear tree.
After we ran up to the loft to see what was going on, a large bird of prey, bigger than any similar bird I've seen in London, flew out of the pear tree to one of our trees, pursued by about 30 corvids shrieking and cawing and chasing and pecking at it.
When the corvids perched they seemed quite relaxed and happy, albeit raucous. I got the impression they had no fear of the big raptor.
Eventually they succeeded in routing it and it slowly flapped off, pursued by a few enthusiastic crows for a while.
It was an epic show of community solidarity against a common enemy

IvanV
Fuzzable
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by IvanV » Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:34 pm

rockdoctor wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:02 pm
Apropos of very little, we were in our central London garden a few weeks back when a murder of crows (and two magpies) started making a huge noise in the neighbour's massive pear tree.
After we ran up to the loft to see what was going on, a large bird of prey, bigger than any similar bird I've seen in London ...
The most likely are peregrine and red kite.

Peregrines are the main large raptor in central London, which use tall buildings like cliff faces. There's a large size range for peregrines, and females are rather larger than males. So a particularly large female peregrine is one possibility. The smaller males are not always much larger than a rook.

Or else, bigger still, would be a red kite. They are apparently are being regularly spotted in London these days, and used to be common in London in the past. Red kites are easy to recognise by their forked tail. No other British large raptor has a forked tail.

Other things have been spotted overflying at height. The occasional buzzard is spotted in the parks, but in general urban areas are not their habitat.

I did see a carrion crow on a fence post on Sunday, and then found a scattering of black feathers around when I approached the fence post. Unfortunately I was in NE Wales so I thought I'd better not send them in. My teenage daughter has renamed the administrative town of that area Rectum.

We also heard plenty of ravens calling around there, but they didn't show themselves. There's a lot of ravens in N and mid Wales, I expect to encounter them on most hill walks there. The first time I ever (knowingly) saw them was at the Quarry Car Park in Elan Valley, in the late 80s. The other bird I first spotted in a car park, indeed the only place I saw them, is the ocellated turkey. There's a colony in the car park at Tikal, the major Maya site in Guatemala.

monkey
Catbabel
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by monkey » Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:43 pm

IvanV wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:34 pm
rockdoctor wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:02 pm
Apropos of very little, we were in our central London garden a few weeks back when a murder of crows (and two magpies) started making a huge noise in the neighbour's massive pear tree.
After we ran up to the loft to see what was going on, a large bird of prey, bigger than any similar bird I've seen in London ...
The most likely are peregrine and red kite.
There's a pair of peregrines in my city. One of them sometimes flies up round my flat and sits in the crow tree (a pecan, I think). This makes the crows get noisy. The peregrine doesn't seem to give a f.ck, but not seen any crows swooping at it or pecking, just lots of noise.

tom p
Dorkwood
Posts: 1107
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:14 pm
Location: the low countries

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by tom p » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:26 pm

rockdoctor wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:02 pm
Apropos of very little, we were in our central London garden a few weeks back when a murder of crows (and two magpies) started making a huge noise in the neighbour's massive pear tree.
After we ran up to the loft to see what was going on, a large bird of prey, bigger than any similar bird I've seen in London, flew out of the pear tree to one of our trees, pursued by about 30 corvids shrieking and cawing and chasing and pecking at it.
When the corvids perched they seemed quite relaxed and happy, albeit raucous. I got the impression they had no fear of the big raptor.
Eventually they succeeded in routing it and it slowly flapped off, pursued by a few enthusiastic crows for a while.
It was an epic show of community solidarity against a common enemy
I've seen exactly the same thing a few weeks ago too, during nesting season, but with jackdwas in the fight alongside their corvid brothers and sisters too.
a f.cking huge buzzard they chased off.
It's an awesome thing to see, innit?
ETA: mine was in 's-Gravenhage though

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 1920
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jul 22, 2021 3:32 pm

We have a pair of neighbourhood red kites, which I've never personally seen do anything other than soaring like serene motherf.ckers tbh. Except for the times that crows, gulls* or, possibly yesterday, swifts attack them. Which is reasonably often.


*I live 70 miles from the coast.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

User avatar
rockdoctor
Clardic Fug
Posts: 203
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:52 am
Location: Paddington, London

Re: South-east UK people - opportunity to help PhD research

Post by rockdoctor » Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:33 pm

In response to all these great replies; I have seen a load of kites further west down the M4, but mine wasn’t that big. Unfortunately I didn’t see much of the raptor- I wasn’t expecting to see one at all, plus it was obscured by the melee of corvids.
I’m quite near Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park, but I have seen few traces of birds of prey around the area

Post Reply