Friday, January 15, 2016

Rerun Article: Polly Want Lamb Chops?

Happy 2016, everyone! Sorry that this post is late, my grandmother died at the old age of 95 this past week and I didn't have an opportunity to post. While we'll miss her dearly, I am glad that she is a Christian, so she's in heaven now with Jesus. Hallelujah!

In addition to this news, I have finally seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens! It was so awesome! The story was great (a rare thing for sequels) and so were the special effects. The only part I didn't like was when ___________ died. (I'm not gonna spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it, but I'm sure those of you who have seen the movie know who I'm talking about.). Let's get started with our first article of the new year!

Days Till
It is: 25 days till Martin Luther King Jr. Day
It is: 18 days till Groundhog Day
It is: Valentine's Day

In the Spotlight:
Not much to share this week, except my love for the new Star Wars movie! However, I recently found out about a new Disney movie coming to theaters on March 4. It's called Zootopia. The trailers for this film were hilarious! Basically, Zootopia takes place in an alternate universe where mammals are anthropomorphic -- they live like people, wear clothes (well, most of them do), own shops and restaurants and things like that. If you haven't heard of this movie, you need to check it out. See the trailer for it below, featuring the main characters trying to obtain some information from the DMV. There's one tiny problem though: everyone working at the DMV is a sloth!
Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
People just love birds. One of everyone’s favorite types is no doubt the parrot. Parrots are very smart birds. We can train them to talk and recent tests even prove that at least some parrots actually know what they’re saying instead of just calling out words! God made these birds for us to enjoy. Parrots come in a wide range of sizes, from small Budgerigars to the giant Kakapo. Haven’t heard of the Kakapo? Well, it’s this large green parrot that lives on New Zealand. It’s not very parrot-like at all; it can’t fly! Most parrots, as we all know, can fly very well. We often like to have them sit on our shoulders, especially pirates. But one species of parrot is bound to surprise you.
A Kea sitting on a rock.

This Kea Parrot is about to land on a white car. As you can see, the undersides of its wings are a beautiful orange color.
It’s called the Kea, a small green parrot (about 19 inches long) living in New Zealand. Most parrot species are loved by millions, but not the Kea. It denies normal parrot behavior and is rather . . . “mischievous”. First of all, it likes to live in urban areas where they will tip over trash cans, break car windows, invade camping sites, and play with windshield wipers to the point of breaking them! (So they’re sort of like foxes on the wing) Another thing that makes this parrot unique is that instead of living in the lush tropical forests, it lives in the snow on the alpine slopes. Keas are the only parrots known to live in this kind of habitat.

But probably the most surprising thing about the Kea is that instead of asking it, “Polly want a cracker?” you may want to ask, “Polly want a lamb chops?” This parrot will eat fruit, but lately, they've decided to go . . . no . . . it couldn’t be . . . could these guys be turning . . . CARNIVOROUS?!? Strange but true, in the spring, summer and fall, they normally eat daisies, berries and other fruits, nectar, pollen, insects and etc. But Keas have been seen actually eating not only stuff from trash cans (which is why they tip them over in the first place), but they also will eat carrion. In winter, these foods are harder to find. The rampage began in the 1800’s when people introduced sheep to New Zealand and the Keas started to eat carrion of dead sheep. Then they really went on the rampage! Keas are believed to have actually killed 200 or so sheep in a single night (in 1884) and 15,000 sheep in a season in. Just when you saw some animals appeared to be giving meat up like the lions did in a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, another animal switches onto meat.
How on earth do they kill sheep anyway? Well, they fly over to the sheep and start pecking at sores and I’d assume the sheep eventually died of shock and blood loss. Four main theories arose as to why the Kea transformed almost overnight to be a sheep-killer:
A Kea damaging a car.
  1. They just switched from eating insects to eating sheep
  2. There were maggots in the carrion they were eating so this is when they developed a taste for meat.
  3. The Vegetable Sheep theory is: Keas thought the sheep were plants when they were lying down so they just accidentally ate a sheep and thought, “Hey, this tastes pretty good! We should do this more often!”
  4. The bird’s diet changed because of theory adaptability, intelligence, curiosity and mischievousness

The last theory I mentioned is the one most scientists believe is most likely. Many scientists believe they also used to feast on Moa carrion too (Moas are giant birds that went extinct a few hundred years ago). Boy, I’m sure glad these birds don’t prey on people! If they did, we’d all be in big trouble no doubt! Because of their sheep-hunting behavior, the Kea was hunted and actually became endangered. The good news is, this bird received full protection in 1986.

Fortunately for all sheep-kind, Kea predations on livestock have gone down drastically. They are getting rarer and rarer over the past few years. However, occasional Kea attacks on sheep are still being reported, and most of these attacks are on sheep that are old, weak or sick (but some people sometimes will find healthy sheep with Kea wounds). So it seems as though the Kea is finally calming down . . . at least for the moment . . .

But don’t you start thinking this is the end of it! Kea’s aren’t the only so-called herbivores that weren’t told they are supposed to eat plants! A farmer in India lost 48 of his chickens. He suspected some dogs had done the deed, so he and his brother went out one night to catch the culprit. Boy were they in for a surprise when they saw his cow named Lal sneak into the chicken coop and started to grab and eat the chickens! How shocking in deed. So it turns out those cows promoting Chick-Fil-A aren’t only promoting the business, they’re also eating at the business!

Another example would be the was when someone took a trip to Kangaroo Island in Australia, the person dropped a BBQ steak sandwich. Then two grey kangaroos came in and devoured the sandwich, bread, meat and all.

In 1992, a wild Panda Bear killed and ate 26 goats before being captured and studied. In 2002, a British researcher got quite a shock when she saw a sheep snatch an oblivious grouse and devoured it whole! 

Another sheep was seen gobbling up nine chickens. There’s even a horse that actually will chase down chickens and eat them whole. And believe it or not, when a film crew was filming a migration of Wildebeest in Africa, they were migrating through a river where our “friendly” hippos live. Some wildebeest were killed by crocodiles who also inhabit the river, but before some of the crocodiles could eat, hippos came in and started eating the carcass!

Should I go on? Just as many carnivorous animals will have a vegetarian diet, many animals have become carnivorous herbivores. This, as horrifying as it may be, is a reminder to us that all animals were originally designed to eat plants as it says in Genesis. But after the first people rebelled against God, animals could go either ways. Most chose to go herbivorous because that was what their bodies were most designed for, but others chose to become carnivorous. Of course though, as we just learned, animals can change their diets. Fortunately most animals tend to stick with the diets that best suits their bodies (for instance, while horses can eat chickens, they must have a hard time tearing the bird apart with those dull teeth). Most animals probably would get sick if they tried to eat food that doesn’t suit their body. However, even in this fallen world we live in, God has promised us to one day, restore His beautiful creation.

Disclaimer: The images above are not my own unless otherwise indicated. If you own one of the above images and want it removed, please notify me via my email.

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