Dire News

Tag: bird

Point and Shoot

by on Jun.02, 2013, under Animals, Consumer, Education, Environment, History, Media, Nature, Technology

If you live in the U.S. and wondered who made the first movie camera, you were probably told that it was Thomas Edison. Edison-cine It's typical of the U.S., as it used to be in Western Europe, to ignore scientific and technological discoveries until we reveal them for ourselves. Not to belittle his accomplishments, but much of Edison's success was in making practical the inventions of others, and his business acumen. kinetoscope-1 Edison took the Zoopraxiscope invented by English photographer Eadweard Muybridge and turned it into the first true motion picture peepshow.

Old Fashioned Peep Show

In 1882, a few years before Edison created the modern pornographic movie industry, French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey wanted to capture the motion of birds and small animals to study their movement, a discipline known as chronophotography.

Etienne Jules Marey Seated In Laboratory

He invented the Fusil Photographique, or "photographic rifle", which allowed Marey to track his subjects while shooting his images, effectively developing the technique of "panning" the camera.


The magazine holds a light sensitive gelatin emulsion plate that's big enough for 25 frames. The exposure is through one of the 12 shutters in front of the plate and the camera could take 12 exposures a second.


Focusing was accomplished by changing the length of the barrel.


It predates the reflex camera. It's a point-and-shoot.

marey3The ultimate result is a collection of images that are viewed in rapid sequence.


We suggest a few basic rules:

  • Know when it's loaded.
  • Don't put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
  • Don't have a finger in front of the barrel.

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A Hare In My Food

by on Apr.18, 2013, under Animals, Food, Nature

A typical meal for a Heron is fish, small birds, and small mammals. heron-koi   heron-bird heron-mouse   Wildlife photographer Ad Sprang was watching in Vianen, Holland hoping to get some good wildlife shots of a grey heron he spotted. heron1   After taking a few photos, a rabbit appeared from a hole. The Heron noticed it and slowly approached the rabbit. Ad Sprang said, "When the heron was quite close to the rabbit you could feel the tension. The head of the bird slowly moved from the left to the right; apparently to estimate the distance. Then all of a sudden in a split second the bird caught the rabbit" heron2   "The heron tried to kill the rabbit by putting it under water. After about half a minute the rabbit was almost dead but as it moved it was put under water by the heron again." heron3   "When the poor little rabbit had finally died the heron swallowed the rabbit completely. It was not that easy because of the size but finally the heron was successful." heron4 heron5 "I have often seen herons catching preys like mice and fish. but catching a rabbit was a surprise."     heron6   We're pretty certain it was a surprise to the rabbit too.


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Pigeon Head

by on Jul.30, 2012, under Animals, Kids, Recreation

Shane Matus, a twelve year old from Howell Township, New Jersey was visiting Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, riding in the front car of the Kingda Ka roller coaster. It was his second ride on the Kingda Ka that day and he was having a blast. The ride is 456 feet high and travels as fast as 128 mph. Enjoying a bird's eye view, Shane was distracted by the sound of a car alarm in a nearby parking lot and turned toward the sound. As the cars approached a curve returning to the station, that's when it hit him. At first, Shane was confused, thinking someone threw a ball. Then he felt his neck puffing up, getting swollen, and he started spitting out feathers and blood. “I just ... hit a bird? What?” Shane said were his initial thoughts. “The only thing I felt was pain. I had blood dripping down from my nose, my lips, and all of this,” he said, pointing to his badly bruised, scratched and swollen neck. Colliding with a pigeon, Shane suffered extensive bruising and scratches to his face. "They say the bird exploded," said Shane. "It hurt a lot for like three seconds. People behind us had feathers and blood all over them. If that car alarm didn’t go off, it would’ve hit me dead in the eye." There were no broken bones, and Shane said he wants to ride the Kingda Ka again. But not in the front row. “Probably in the third ... because that’s my lucky number,” Shane said.

The pigeon was tested for rabies, so we have no pictures of the actual bird. The pigeon above is a duck and was killed by a lightning strike.

This is a pigeon being eaten by a falcon.

Finally, a sparrow hawk eviscerating a pigeon.

We hope this will speed Shane's recovery.

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Another Mouth To Feed

by on Mar.13, 2011, under Animals, Nature

Things with two heads are a rarity in nature, the result of embryos failing to divide properly. When we see them, they're usually very young, because having two heads doesn't help in the wild, and they don't live very long. That's probably good in some cases. Imagine stumbling on a two-headed alligator in the sewer. Constant competition for food and control with itself precludes proper nutrition and rest. It takes a lot of effort to sustain the larger two-headed creatures.

And some of them survive.

Unless nature has truly frowned on them.

Despite the odds, we still persist in trying to save them.

This seven week old African Spurred Tortoise is expected to live a very long life.

Discovered in Slovakia, they were named Magda and Lenka.

They share a fifth leg between them. The African Spurred Tortoise is the biggest land tortoise in the world. Specimens with 24 to 36 inch long shells weighing 150 pounds  are not unknown and they grow from hatchling size (2-3 inches) very quickly, reaching 6-10 inches within the first few years of their lives. The lifespan of an African Spurred Tortoise is about 30-50 years.

The two-headed shark above, from the Shell Museum in Australia, hasn't been named. I'm leaning towards Rippie and Shreddie.

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