Sunday, August 11, 2013

When Miss G and I Split up in Evolution

Evolution is amazing! Since about two months I am deeply obsessed with Miss G's and my prehistoric ancestors. Before that I had always assumed, dinosaurs were my ancestors as well, but this is clearly not  the case. They are Miss G's ancestors indeed, but mammal-like reptiles had already evolved long before dinosaurs. Once there were reptiles, which weren't dinosaurs yet, before evolution split them: On one side the dinosaurs and birds, on the other mammal-like reptiles and mammals. So when did Miss G's and my ancestors actually split up?
Petrolacosaurus, earliest reptile known, so one of those ancestors Miss G and I sisterly share
Reptiles developed from amphibians about 320-310 million years ago. Around 300 million years ago there were already reptiles which clearly were ancestors of mammals, but not of dinosaurs. Ergo, Miss G's and my both roots must be about 300 million years old. Since 300 million years ago Miss G's ancestors, the dinosaurs, evolved their way, whereas we mammals our way. Each of us went 300 million years and if you add that together, Miss G and I are separated by 600 years evolutional developing. So how comes we're still so amazingly similar?

We both have two feet, two eyes, a pair of ears and voices. Miss G and I can talk to each other and
Velociraptor, of the raptor-family, birds evolved from
we do understand each other. Her wings are not much different from my arms, they only have another function. Well, 65 million years ago her dinosaur ancestors, the raptors, really had arms to grab their prey. So actually, Miss G's wings are arms, used for flight. The most fascinating resemblance between Miss G and me are our voices. I've never been surprised at the fact that cats sound so very human. You can really confuse a meowing cat with a crying baby. And this is not too astonishing, because cats evolved just about 25 million years ago. Early humans probably listened to the meowing of saber-toothed cat cubs at night and felt like they sounded like their own babies. But to hear sounds like that from Miss G really astonishes me. This bird sounds amazingly human.

In the Cambrian period (541.0 - 485.4 million years ago) eyes were new evolvement. Critters suddenly were able to see, to find their prey or avoid predators. So, as Miss G and I split 300 million years didn't we divide more gravely? I might have developed three eyes and Miss G even four. But this doesn't seem to be the concept of evolution—or in case you like that better, of creation. It very much looks like we're all one big family and Miss G and I are part of it. We are relatives and there's really big love between the two of us.

One last point: I heard some scientist assume, aliens from another planet couldn't look like people. Why, maybe they do! Doesn't it look like evolution follows a certain concept? After all this might be the evolutional concept of the whole universe. Well, maybe the people from another planet would look a little more like Miss G, but I think they would look like people. Smart little guys with feathers.

By Clarissa
Prehistoric paintings by the ingenious Nobu Tamura

Sunday, July 29, 2012

You Just Found an Orphaned Seagull?

This article is overdue, for right now we're in the season when baby seagulls grow up in the wild. So, maybe you just found a winged orphan and don't know what to do.....

On YouTube I once talked to a lady who had a disabled seagull orphan years ago. She didn't keep it, since she came to the conclusion a gull would be happier at the zoo. But the zoo didn't keep this gull and it's in question whether the bird got by in the wild..... She also said, the gull didn't get tame during the weeks she gave shelter to it. Well, I consider this absolutely normal -- any animal needs time to learn trust. So perhaps you want to hear about my experiences....

Miss G and I have a very deep relationship today. She trusts me, as I trust her. But this has been growing over years -- it really needs time. Frankly, even I couldn't trust her during the first years.... suddenly she would bite my nose or something. There were many misunderstandings between the two of us. Today this is not the case anymore. I can say, Miss G and I are a real family today -- we feel the same way and 'speak' the same language. But this had to grow over many years. It takes time, you just have to be patient.

If you bring up a disabled gull, this animal is going to be a pet all its life. God didn't create wild animals on one hand and pets on the other. A parrot is supposed to live in the wild, but if it grows up in civilization, it is supposed to stay there. I couldn't live in the jungle, for I wasn't taught so during my childhood days. And it's very unlikely, I will ever learn to survive there. Same goes for young birds of any kind. There is no such thing as a species called 'pet' -- there are only animals who where raised to be pets. And the same goes for a seagull that grew up among humans for a long time. You probably would find it too tough to survive in the wild yourself. And the seagull you're bringing up right now, probably doesn't want it either after some time. It knows how to be a seagull-baby, but never learned to live on its own. If your gull is healthy, you have to release it slowly and still leave a chance to find back to your care. But if it's disabled anyway, you should keep it as a pet. We shouldn't forget, a zoo is a commercial enterprise and cannot give shelter to every wild bird in need. And any animal shelter will appreciate, if you're ready to care for you orphan yourself. For they're all crowded with too many animals already.

Pets (dogs, cats, birds, whatsoever....) are used to share human culture. Many of them love music and they prefer certain kinds of music. Miss G loves to hear Whitney Houston, because I listened to Whitney's CDs a lot around 1995, when my bird was a baby. Today I rarely do, but if I play Whitney's old songs, like Saving All My Love For You, Miss G starts screeching at once. So, she does remember the music she heard over 15 years ago! Today I rather listen to jazz and my gull is at least a bit interested. Since I play trumpet, trombone and 'clarinet' myself, she's able to kinda judge the different sounds. At times I remember her while listening to jazz CDs: "This is a trumpet.... this is a trombone.... now it's a clarinet!" Basically she is interested to hear about things she already knows (we humans actually too). And she is very excited each time she recognizes something.

Our pets share human language with us. Your dog cannot speak it, but have you got any idea how many vocabularies he's able to understand? Honestly, I don't know the extent of Miss G's passive vocabulary. But she's fairly impressive and at times I'm still surprised. As she learns vocabularies pretty quick -- she even has a sense for new combinations which make sense. Two phrases are very old in the repertoire we share: "Look, the sun is shining (she loves to hear that)!" The other one sounds like, "Wait, let me switch on the light...... aaah.... see? Light, you can actually see something!" One beautiful morning I was like, "Hey, the sun is shining.... this is light -- it's sunlight!" The combination sun/light made her very euphoric. This combination actually made sense, seemed very beautiful and was great fun to consider. I know her euphoric screech too well. We agree on many things, we share a lot of things. And who wonders? After 18 years we're an old couple. Don't be like, not any gull would be able to grow into that role. After 18 years?! Just give it a chance and let the relationship grow. If your gull has a broken wing, it has no other option. A life with nice humans isn't dull. That is, if you're ready, able and willing.

I don't share unabridged human intelligence with Miss G. Yet, we have enough to share interesting communication. One day the sun was shining into the kitchen window again and I approached her with trumpet in my hand. Accidentally she was struck by reflections from the brass and panicked. So I explained to her, it just was the sunlight. I pointed at the open window and then at the bell of my instrument: "See, it's the sun light...... See, now the light is on your sand.... This is just sunlight!" Now she seemed to like it. The reflection struck her again -- this time I did it intentionally. Her fear was gone. Isn't that wonderful? I will never be able to explain her a reflexive pronoun, or an F♯m79 chord. But this doesn't matter. We do share a certain rationality and we do share the fun of communicating and understanding together. Human culture is interesting and in a way impresses any kind of animals.

The certain woman who had given her gull to a zoo said, after all the bird wasn't happy among the other birds. But she couldn't say exactly where her gull ended up after all. Well, I don't wonder. Miss G is a sissy. She's very much afraid of wild seagulls, since she made the experience they're much tougher than she is. My gull is a civilized little lady and far away from being a wild gull. Though, I didn't tell the woman she should have waited and her gull had actually been supposed to get tame still, after some time. I absolutely think so, but it was too late anyway and I didn't want her to feel the pain of regrets.

Well, at least you know it now. And if you have any questions: Ask -- the comment forms are open to anyone. You don't have to sign in (spam will be deleted immediately though; I watch this blog daily!).

How to Keep the Drinking Water Out of the Bird Sand

I am not happy with all our plastic stuff. Until a couple weeks Miss G drank out of a little glass bowl. On a weekend in April I had to go to the hospital. There I learned it wasn't just an infection, but a kidney stone was about to block and destroy one of my kidneys. I told them I first had to feed my bird, but they insisted on immediate surgery, which happened the same evening. The next morning I had to run out of them -- against doctor's orders, who was like, "I'm not supposed to know that." But she perfectly did understand my situation as bird mother.

My second surgery was on June 1, since they had inserted a stent. So I had a few weeks time to figure out Miss G's water supply. Our old water dispenser had been a problem for years : at times my 'seegal' isn't just drinking, playfully fooling around with that water. Her bird sand got wet and smelly. Installing the dispenser just outside of her place didn't solve the problem as well; then she spilled the water just on the kitchen floor. As you see on the photo, I found a solution, but it involves some more plastic. The dispenser is standing on the bottom of a little blue plastic basket -- inside sort of plastic tub. Since Miss G is often romping like crazy, I also had to fix the dispenser with screws, to keep it in place.

Frankly, I like the glass bowl much better and hate to see my gull drinking out of plastic stuff. But there's another issue : Since I had that nasty kidney stone, I'm afraid she might get that too. As I drink a lot of tap water over the day, I want her to have drinking water around the clock.

By the way, I obviously annihilated my kidney stone by drinking tap water like a fish. In June my doctors just took out the stent, wondering why they couldn't find the stone anymore. So my second surgery turned out to be a Sunday stroll.
P.S.: The post "You Just Found an Orphaned Seagull?" remains on top as lead article, until this year's seagull baby season will be over. There are emergency cases of orphaned seagull babies around the world and I want adopters to find this article at once.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Do Gulls Blog?

Mostly they don't. They don't even go online. Why should they anyway? There isn't anything to get for us 'seagals'........
The Miss G project started as a family blog for friends in early 2011. I was not to get via search engines and we hardly had clicks. We wanted it that way. My human adopter (you may say my mom, or human pet as well) was a little afraid I might become a media hype and mean strangers would peek into our innocent family life.... I guess we were a little naive and out of touch with the real media world.

Gotta little work to do....

In summer 2011 Congress gridlock and teaparty downgrade disturbed my mom so much, that she got overly politicized. I mean, we always had been liberals, as never entirely unpolitical. But this new development changed our entire life. Ma stopped her 30s film blogging on sweet&hot and started shooting on a new political blog: The Purgatorial Libertarian. The birth defect of this project: it started on WordPress and hardly got any clicks. So we came to the point where she decided the Miss G blog also had to go into political business. I even went to Barack Obama's blog and talked to the humans there. If Miss G was a potential media hype, it would be a great weapon for the political fight....

Okay, I'm done..... how about supper now?

Frankly, Miss G didn't do well in politics -- I wasn't even a media hype. Our only blog that still got plenty of clicks was my mom's old 30s project sweet&hot. In fall 2011 she decided to reactivate sweet&hot and occupy it herself for political purposes. I pretty much retired from the political business, as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did before.

Part of our political action had always been: fighting the bird-bigots and helping other gulls. The bird-bigots, who hate gulls and even want to kill them, are mainly on YouTube. So my mom started a Miss G channel on YouTube. There we suddenly met other seagull adopters. We were able to inform people who just found an injured and disabled gull. Suddenly Miss G made sense and we could do some good -- help a little to make this world a better place.

Today this Miss G blog mainly gets clicks from people who find us on YouTube. If they need information how to help, adopt and keep disabled gulls, they can really find the way to this blog. We feel this makes lots of sense, for you can inform much better via blog, than on YouTube.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Miss G Is a Stephanie Miller Listener

She hears the Stephanie Miller show even if I'm not at home and likes it a lot. Stephanie is very lively, doing funny things, even imitates cat voices and seagulls like that. Miss G recognizes president Obama's voice too, but Steph is her favorite.

From today on, I will do the blogging here too. We kinda rotate as blogging editors from gull to mom of the gull. The mom is me, Clarissa, and I am today in charge. Some of the videos on our YouTube channel have been unlisted. They're now here on the Miss G blog. Please don't try to post to our YouTube channel, we won't hear it. YouTube is too visual and I don't like that. Photos and videos are nice, but text goes first. Too much visual stuff makes people stupid. Now they're changing the design and I hate it very much. There's even less text there. Stupid, blah!

In future we load up there at times, but won't list it over there and instead embed here on Miss G's. If you have questions or a suggestion, just drop by folks. You're welcome!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tribute to the Christmas Gulls

I don't wanna confuse you on Christmas Eve, but there is no 'Santa'. His real name was Saint Nicholas and he was wearing a bishop's hat instead of a garden goblin's cap. The Christmas Gulls don't wear hats at all, but it's basically their job to throw all the junk down the chimneys. At first it was supposed to be the Easter Bunnie's job, but as they can't fly, they had to yield to the Christmas Gulls.

Whatsoever, what are you guys doing with all the junk? I mean, you get that junk every year and as far as I've seen, the closets and cupboards are full. Living with humans is like residing on a garbage dump.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

About the Necessity of Pedicure

If you're a seagull and you read this, just cast an eye at your feet and ask yourself: "Are my claws too long?" A wild seagull's claws are never long. During take-offs, landings and running on rocks (or other kinds of rough materials) they're being blunted and kept short. We domesticated gulls can afford being lazy, whereas in wildlife you fight for survival all the time, so claws cannot grow long.

Too long claws are no good:
  1. You stumble if they hook one another.
  2. You might eventually hurt your eyes while scratching your head (don't know -- just my personal concern).
  3. Too long claws tend to turn outside, while you're standing on your feet. Any orthopedist will tell you, this isn't healthy for your bones.
My feet at November 21: Long claws tend to turn outside!

Seagulls don't use their claws to cling, like those birds who sit on trees. Gulls cannot cling -- we just stand, like dogs, ducks and humans. If you see a gull on a lantern, or something: that individual is just standing up there. Long gull-claws are useless, annoying and potentially dangerous! So you gotta keep 'em short.

November 27: This is way too long--were're the pincers?!

A wild gull's feet in stony environment: Claws don't grow so very long there.

This is how to cut the claws of a seagull:
Humans use various kinds of pincers, to shorten their claws. So you take something like that. Mind that your claws might turn around while the pincers' jaws close forcefully! So you close them softly, let the claw find its most stable position between the jaws.... and then you press. You better let your human do it, for this isn't easily done with a beak....
Personally I have my claws blunted with a little file after that -- I don't wanna hurt myself with sharp edges, that's why we do it. Humans have lots of vanity, fooling around with those ridiculous nail files. Well, it can't harm if you're a bit neat too....

Now they're cut off. It isn't really fun, but it had to be.

Now let's discuss how to improve the skin condition of your feet. Even humans love to walk in the mud, because it's good for their feet. We gulls do it a lot in the wild, but if we have to live in houses as disabled gulls, it's hardly possible. In this case you might wanna try human hand cream, if the skin of your webbed feet gets too dry.

As you see here, my feet tend to be a little dry at times.

Of course you choose a cream without perfume and other unnecessary chemical stuff. There are special creams for humans with delicate hands on the market, so you better use those. Try it once and see, whether an allergic reaction will occur: if this is the case you try out another cream. Hand cream should be rubbed in by your human pet -- you can actually train your human to rub in the cream. Finally it (the human) should add a bit more cream on top of your feet (while you're standing upright), just this time don't have it rubbed in.

Now you're done and your feet look neat.

This looks very much better. The feet look a little reddish,
since the massage encouraged the blood circulation, but that's okay.
Claws have regular length now: I'm not an eagle--just a normal herring gull.

Our YouTube films on this issue:

The next morning, after having changed the bird sand: