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Author Topic: Did You know - outdoor edition  (Read 103585 times)

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Online WV Sawmiller

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Did You know - outdoor edition
« on: December 21, 2020, 11:03:46 PM »
   I figured I'd start a new thread with trivia and tidbits and decided to limit this to outdoor and wildlife matters and keep it here in the Outdoor vs the General thread. I'll try to add something new I have seen or learned over the years about various animals and outdoor matters. If you have something of a similar or related subject you have learned please post it here to keep this interesting and informative. 

    To start with: While he looks like he has an extremely rigid backbone did you know that an alligator can actually bend his backbone at the neck so much that, if the water is deep enough, he looks like a person standing straight up and walking upright. I assume crocodiles can do the same thing but can only certify this fact for the American Alligator. It kind of makes his look like the Pogo alligator cartoon.
Howard Green
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2020, 09:13:28 AM »
   Have you ever watched a bobwhite quail with a clutch of chicks when alarmed? The chicks will freeze and hide under a leaf or anything handy and the hen Bobwhite will try to draw you away with a broken wing act. Once safely away from the chicks her wing miraculously cures itself and she flies away. When the threat is gone she calls her brood back together.

   Did you know other birds will do the same thing? Even a "domestic" guinea chick will freeze and hide under a leaf. I have observed ostrich chicks in Southern Africa and Ibis in Mongolia, when they could not outrun pursuit, who froze and stretched out on the ground while the parents acted injured and tried to draw us away. Once we cleared the area the parents called and the young jumped up and rejoined them. Killdeer will do the same thing and I have even seen hen turkeys do the same thing. I suspect that there are many other birds who will do the same thing to protect their nests and young. This may be restricted to birds that spend their lives on the ground more than birds that spend more of their time flying.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Southside

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2020, 12:34:20 PM »
Blue birds will do the same broken wing thing.  

Speaking of game birds.  Did you know that if hunting Grouse in the winter and you find a group of them roosted in a tree you can get your bag limit if you shoot them from the lowest limb up.  All they do is look down and wonder why Frankie is doing the funky chicken in the snow.  But if you shoot the one on the top limb first he warns all of his buddies "they got me" on the way down and they will all take flight.  
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2020, 01:11:28 PM »
   My bluebirds always just attack anything that gets near their box but maybe if I'd walked out when the young one were learning to fly and fluttering in the grass they would have tried that. 

  That sounds like a very useful thing to know on the grouse. Kind of like Alvin York shooting the last German in the line till he worked his way to the front (if the movie was correct).
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline barbender

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2020, 02:48:25 PM »
A good heart attack can be caused by ruffed grouse in the winter. They actually burrow into the snow, and will almost let you step on them before they explode up through the snow and fly away! Just a flushing grouse is enough to give a good start (I've seen dogs run away from it😊) but combined with coming up through the snow from under your feet will make your heart skip a few beats!!
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2020, 05:10:18 PM »
BB,   We have grouse here but few and I've never flushed one in the snow like that. I have had quail and rabbits do that in Fla when you'd be walking across a bare cow pasture with clumps of briers here and there. You'd swear there was not enough cover there to hide a sparrow till you step beside it and a covey of quail busts out or Mr. rubberbutt comes bounding out starting you. Many times I have seen people swinging their guns like tennis rackets at the quail because they would be so close. I once flushed 3 deer out of a patch of switch cane no bigger than a sofa on Ft Benning. Sort of makes you wonder how many animals you walked right past.
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Offline KEC

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2020, 08:09:34 PM »
I've never seen a bluebird do a true distraction display, but they sometimes flutter one wing which I interpret as an anxiety display. They will divebomb you when getting too close to the babies, especially just before they leave the nest. Mourning Doves do the broken wing act. Ovenbirds will fly up close to you and then run away dragging their wings on the ground. Indigo Buntings will come flying up close by and flutterglide away about 3' off the ground. Hooting like a Barred Owl will cause Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers with babies nearby to pitch a fit. I had a sapsucker fly in and land in a dirt road near me and roll around on the road. I treasure all such experiences. And then there are raptors that  can be outright hostile when you get near their babies.

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2020, 08:34:42 PM »
   I had a beaver in a slough off the Flint River at Lake Worth near Albany Ga do that one time. She had a den built in the bank and I was easing along pitching minnows or jigs for crappie and when I got close to the den she started coming up and splashing sounding like someone threw a big log in the water. She did that right in front of my boat for 60-70 yards till I got far enough past the den then I saw a line of bubbles pass under my boat. While she did not draw me away chasing an "injured" beaver, she did disturb the fishing enough there was no incentive to stay near the den so she still accomplished her goal.

In a way I guess deer do the same thing as many times I have had an old doe snort and prance out in the distance. No doubt she is warning the fawn but she may also be trying to get the predator to come chase her.

I assume most of you have been busted by an old doe where she would stamp her foot and maybe snort and try to get you to move and show yourself. Other animals will do that too. We watched a cow Waterbuck in Kenya at the Nukuru Game Park walking through tall grass stomping her foot like an old whitetail doe. A leopard had just passed and no doubt she smelled him. I guess when they stomp like that sometimes they play on a predators nerves and make them charge prematurely giving the prey animal more time to run away. It was neat to see animals on another continent do the same things ours do.

KEC,  I have never been super close to a nest of raptors but we used to have a nest of red-tailed hawks in the top of a tall maple growing in a steep draw. We could walk up on either side and look down in the nest and see the young. I was never dive bombed or anything but the mom and dad would raise Cain in the air above. Any young in the nest would hunker down when they heard the parents. Since this was in the spring it usually coincided with Spring Gobbler season and the hawks screaming would shock any gobbler in the area to gobble so they were a good locator tool. One day I was returning from a morning hunt and a bunch of Jakes ran out past me and I busted one and he flopped and rolled and landed at the foot of the Hawk maple. Boy did the mom do some hollering then. I did not know if she did not want me that close to her young or she just hated to see that much free meat leaving when I collected my turkey.
Howard Green
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2020, 08:55:27 PM »
Did you know there are jumping mullet (mostly a salt water or brackish water fish) in Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion (Santee Cooper lakes) in South Carolina?  Years ago I was fishing with a guide who caught 20 or so 12-14 mullet in a cast net.  We used them for cut bait for catfish.  It seemed to me then we were too far inland, but apparently not.  Now Im used to it but I do remember my surprise when he brought those fish up in the net.
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2020, 09:11:32 PM »
   I know they will come a long way up fresh water rivers but I do not know how far. They used to come up the Escambia River in N. Fla where I lived and that was at least 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. They would sometimes jump and they were always swimming upstream and would make 3 jumps in a row and clear the water at least a foot high. We used to speculate on shooting them with bird shot because by the 3rd jump you could gauge real close there they would surface the next time.

They used to come up the Suwannee River 50 miles or more from the Gulf. I watched an old timer catch a bunch of them in the run from Hart Springs on the Gilmer County side of the river. He was using about a 25' cane pole (common to that area) with a #8 hook and about a 1" piece of earthworm for bait. He had a dozen or more when I saw him and they all looked to be 4-6 lbs or bigger. The water was swift but crystal clear and he would drop the bait right in front of them when he saw them in the spring run off. I hooked the biggest one I ever saw up above the Yellowjacket landing on the Dixie County side in the river fishing with my dad. He thought it was a mudfish (grinnel/cottonfish) and would not net him for me till it was close enough to identify and I always accused him of knocking it off but I know it really just flopped loose at the boat. A better netman still would have had him. :D

We found baby flounders in the sand in those fresh water springs too.
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2020, 11:59:50 PM »
I've had American Kestrel dive bomb me when I got near their nest. I knew a man who I helped to band Great Horned Owls. He once got nailed by one while he was at the nest up in a tree. After that he would not go up without a helmet on. I have no experience with Goshawks but they are well known to attack people who get too close to the nest. I know the Red-tails will just fly around and scream at you.

Offline Logger RK

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2020, 06:19:14 AM »
I'v seen where a grouse broke its neck trying to dive bomb in the snow after a freezing rain on top of the snow. Also seen where a bobcat chased a grouse up out of the snow. Looking at the tracks the grouse had a frozen chunk of snow on its chest & the bobcat did eat that day

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2020, 06:55:16 AM »
I've seen the broken wing trick a few times. I know there is a nest close by.
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2020, 08:25:31 AM »

We have a bird feeder on the side of our deck and when I go out there and stand near it and a woodpecker has been getting at the suet, it doesn't want company. I've had them fly up from behind and pass inches from my head, definitely gets your attention. 

Originally when I got here we had a trailer because that was what the property had, after we put up a house and hadn't put the bird feeder back up, at dawn one morning we heard a tapping noise in the basement near the boiler. I go down to investigate and don't see anything wrong, as I'm going upstairs, I hear it again. I open the basement door and look at the boiler vent and there is a woodpecker pecking on it. I guess he was trying to tell me something was missing.  ;D
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2020, 09:28:53 AM »
@Logger RK ,

  Talking about broken necks did you know that is one of the normal causes of death for older Blue Footed Boobies in the Galapagos Islands? You can tell the ages as follow: Young Boobies have black feet. Mature Boobies have blue feet. Old Boobies feet begin to turn a purple color. By the time the Boobies get purple feet (15-16 years old if I remember our guide correctly) they also begin to get cataracts and before long they misjudge the depth of the water and when they dive bomb their target fish, which is how they catch fish, they impact the shallow bottom and break their necks.
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2020, 11:11:17 AM »
Twice over the years I've run into a grouse with chicks on the trail.  Both times the hen went through the flopping wing trick but in both cases the chicks ran for my feet.  I can only assume it has something to do with the predator stepping toward the hen and stepping away from the chicks?
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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2020, 11:55:29 AM »
   The only time I flushed a grouse with chicks the young were as big as quail and they flew up in the multi-flora rose bushes and lit till I passed. The young quail I saw as a kid used to just hide where they were and they would often grab a leaf and flip it over them. They would not be as big as the first joint on your thumb. I bought some guinea chicks and they would do the leaf hiding trick too. 

    We chased a couple of 3' tall Ibis in Mongolia while on vacation there and the chicks were as big as a grown chicken but had no feathers to speak of. We were in a dry riverbed and there was no cover. When they realized they could not outrun us they flopped down with their chins flat on the ground while the mom and dad acted injured about 50-60 yards away. My wife walked over and took pictures of the 2 chicks from about 5-6 ft away. We watched several minutes till finally one of the chicks just raised his head and chirped. Mom answered and he jumped up and took off running to her and then his sibling jumped up and followed.  
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2020, 10:04:51 AM »
   Did you know that a baby bull elephant calf will charge even a full sized vehicle when they are a few months old. The female calves stay back with the cow but the "little boys", as our guide in Kenya described them, when 5-6 months old are much more aggressive and bold and would trumpet and make a mock charge at our vehicle then stop and shake his head as if to say "I'm bad" (and he is with a huge mom backing up his play). It is really funny to see a little bull elephant that only weighs a couple hundred lbs charge at a vehicle weighing several tons. 

    We watched a herd of forest elephants of assorted ages from a hide overlooking a mineral rich stream in The Central African Republic one time and a little bull under a year old was engrossed with chasing what looked like a big old Muscovy duck across a mud flat. The little bull was so engaged he did not notice his mom and siblings had wandered off into the forest without him. When he did he he searched the nearby area then trumpeted and his mom answered from out of sight and he went galloping full speed across the mud flat like a child lost in a department store. It is amazing how young animals can remind us of children at times.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2020, 10:18:47 AM »
   How many of you have ever watched an old turkey gobbler who was all full of himself and strutting with a bright red head till suddenly he busted you or some other threat and suddenly that bright red head went all white as he showed his heels clearing the area? Did you know ostriches can exhibit similar behavior? When a huge cock ostrich is feeling his oats his head will be blood red and it can also instantly change colors when he feels threatened. There may be other birds that do the same but that is two I know of who do.

   A big old male ostrich, if he can whip all the others, will take over a harem of 10-20 hens sometimes. Then he will run himself ragged keeping them together and mostly keeping the other males away. Finally he gets so run down and weak a younger or stronger male comes along and takes his harem away from him and he is cast out of the flock to ramble alone. The good news is once he has only himself to look after he can concentrate on finding food and such and suddenly he will start putting on weight and muscle and after a few months he is strong enough to challenge the upstart that took over his flock and defeat him for breeding rights again then the cycle repeats itself. 
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline barbender

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Re: Did You know - outdoor edition
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2020, 12:12:57 PM »
I've had a few friends like that😂😂
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