Friday, October 10, 2008

Change in the Weather

It seems Autumn is upon us in Michigan, despite some very nice weather this week. If it weren't for the calendar, the flora and fauna usually hint that change is in the air. The first visitor, from last week, was a well adapted insect that has a leaf shape to it. Well adapted to hide in a place with leaves, not on windows. The creates a bit of a poser. How long before creatures that have adapted to one environment find themselves extinct because they are attracted to another environment (in this case a warm window).

From the photograph, it is difficult to tell this fellow has a leaf shape to him, but take my word for it. Of course, I can't resist putting words in his mandibles. I'm just not sure what he'd be saying, hanging on the window, while I snap photos of him. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to anthropomorphize him or her or it.

The following week, I moved from the front window to the backyard, and found a column of turkeys trotted across the grass (actually, they seem to be in a skirmish line). In my area, it is not very safe to be a turkey with the upcoming holiday in November. Mind you, the skittish, and now plump birds are safe from me, but there are plenty of open forests for hunters stalking this foul foul (that's not a typo, just a pun).

Unlike the insect, it is difficult to get the turkeys to pose. There were quite a few more, but I needed to charge from the house, snapping images on the run - which is alarming in itself. Yet, they always come back for the bird feed I put out. Turkeys are pushovers. They too are well adapted for life OUTSIDE of the yard. I wonder what strange mutations might occur to help them survive? Perhaps becoming nocturnal.


Charles Gramlich said...

Great capture on the Turkeys. Down here they are way to shy it seems to ever get a picture.

Jeff Edwards said...

I recently spotted a similar "leaf bug" attached to a window: The insect was catching a ride on the outside of a moving train in Chicago!

On a (somewhat) related note...What is your opinion of MIMIC? Apparently del Toro has "disowned" the film, but I find it to be a decent monster movie, all things considered.


Rick said...

In Lincoln Park, when I look out my backyard it's very similar to what you see. Dark shapes running down the back alleys, the soft song of ADT alarms calling through the night, and yes, occasionally, the face of a four legged insect pressed against the window held in place by a much larger insect with a .38.

In the mouth of the small, four legged insect pressed against my window, I too see words forming in his mouth. I think that they are, "I told you, my ex-wife has all my money."

Voland said...

I always find it amazing that human beings pretty much share living space with so many other species, most of which we rarely if ever see. A kind of unacknowledged "move over, I live here too"-type communication. Over here in Normandy we knowingly cohabit with sheep, chickens, and occasionally pigs, plus the ubiquitous cats and dogs and local mouse and birdlife; unknowingly (or little knowing) we also share our immediate habitat with badgers, foxes, wild boar, several types of snake, martens and polecats, hares, coypu (!), and several species of deer. Out of all the latter I've only ever seen a few snakes here and there - of the rest, only footprints in snow, strange gargling noises at night, and the occasional missing chicken prove that all these beasties are living right next to us - often under our noses.

Most critters seem to adapt - if not evolve - to our presence very readily. Herbivores and omnivores generally show a great deal of trust - night critters and carnivores are more wary - but I still get the feeling that all the critters with their varying degrees of awareness somehow view us as "sharing the planet", rather then them being allowed to stay here at our sufferance.

Evolution? Unfortunately, greater dependency on us for their habitats and even domestic care - shearing, clipping, feeding, rearing, etc. Meaning greater responsibility for us to realize we can decimate these little guys if we forget to care. Are we up to the job? Past history, I hope, is no guarantee of future performance - the diversity of your biosphere may go down as well as up...

I love the idea of turkeys wandering through your garden, though. Over here they're a rare farmyard beastie, not something you find in the wild. I kinda like the idea that one day they'll evolve to take cover for the entire month of November, Stateside. Animals with a built-in festival calendar - now there's a thing.

Steve Buchheit said...

I think that look is the "Holy crap, let me in, it's getting chilly out here" look.

Our village clerk-treasurer just bagged her 18lb turkey this past weekend. My wife wanted the wings, and the CT wasn't going to use them, so I went out to pick them up. We had an interesting talk. They had frost, but we didn't. However it's not cold enough for the deer season coming up (deer are keeping in the woods during hunting hours, and it's too warm to hang the body to drain as the deer will go bad).

We get turkeys coming through our back yard (we have oaks, and they love the acorns). Since we live in the village we're not allowed to shoot them (and I think they know it). Had them roost right outside my bedroom window a few nights. Our cat likes to watch them from the windows, tail swishing furiously, like she's thinking, "Sure, they're big, but they're birds. And if I got one of those I could eat all winter."

William Jones said...

Charles - These birds are certainly shy. I also didn't charge them. They're too quick for that. I tried a bit of stealth. Even that doesn't work for long.

Jeff - I've given rides to a few insects on the outside of my vehicle. I'm strange, if I see them before the trip, I try to brush them off. But once on the road, I can merely sympathize for them and their strange new world.

As for MIMIC, I confess, my first thoughts were not warm. Not because of the quality of the film, it was the premise. I liked the idea, but I don't think the film managed to suspend my disbelief (and that is not very hard to do with me). So maybe it was the effects, or something else. Since my first viewing, I've thought about returning to the film a few times.

William Jones said...

Rick - There are urban insects of this sort in your city. See Jeff's post about MIMIC. That will clear it up.

As for the words in the bug's mouth, are you suggesting he annoyed his wife? No, that's not the corrected word. What word would describe bothering someone?

William Jones said...

Voland - Quite right. Until one is gazing an insect in the eye, they are easy to forget - excluding those always trying to get our attention.

Chipmunks in my area love telephone wires (those in central control boxes). And they enjoy nesting inside automobile air filters. (very true)

Of course, it is natural for creatures to evolve with the environment, or at least adapt - if possible. As humans are changing the environment, we hold quite a bit of power - something we might forget when we don't see the various critters.

All in all, it sounds like the beasties in Normandy share quite a bit in common with those in the states, excluding the seasonal carnival. Sounds a bit like Poe's "Cask." I have borne a thousand injuries, but when the turkey lay insult upon them, I required revenge.

William Jones said...

Steve - I have a few apple trees, and the deer love to hang out around them. The Turkeys have a "eating path." They follow it in the morning and evening. This time of year they are endlessly eating. Well, most animals are.

There are a few sneaky cats in the area, but they seem to vanish when the turkeys are on the prowl. Not quite sure why. Seems like we used to have more cats around here, come to think of it. Hmmm, a Turkey Rebellion.

Jeff Edwards said...

All this talk about turkeys has reminded me about my trip to Kauai this past spring. Wild roosters roamed freely across the island. I envy those roosters.

Back to MIMIC for a minute, well, I did say "all things considered." I've seen the film twice now, once on cable and once on DVD. I guess you're right: The filmmakers do expect us to suspend our disbelief immediately after some pseudo-scientific babble. I never really gave much to thought to why these modified bugs grew to human size...Hey, it's just a monster movie! It doesn't matter! :-)


Lois said...

I remember the wild turkeys racing around my former (and now deceased) father-in-law's brother's farm in rural Penn. Some of these turkeys weighed 30-40 pounds. Some were scrawny and mean as hell. Always foul-tempered (durn, stole your 'joke' - foul fowl), these turkeys would race after any human, snapping, biting, making horrible noises - SCREEE-EEEEE.

No point eating the things for T-giving. Their meat was as tough as they were. Stringy, nasty, as bitter as the birds themselves.