$2.7 million research into crow deaths

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Araminta
Araminta's picture
$2.7 million research into crow deaths

Another Government study provides outstanding results . . . winkblush

CSIRO Officials admitted that they found about 200 dead crows on the highway between Noonamah and Palmerston, in Northern Territory, where there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu.

The Territory Government approved and the CSIRO contracted a bird pathologist to examine the remains of all the crows and he confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu, much to everyone’s relief.

However, he determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, and only 2% were killed by car impact. (Didn't know there was a difference!) The Territory Government then hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine the disproportionate percentages for truck versus car kills.

After 18 months of research and $2.7 million spent, the Ornithological Behaviourist determined the cause in the deaths. When crows eat road kill, they always set-up a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger. His conclusion was that the lookout crow could say “Cah”, but he could not say “Truck”.

I just wanted to make sure that you knew your tax money was being well spent . .

No, this is not one of my jokes. All of us could have told them, birds get run over eating road kill. I could have told them for 1 million.

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

An amusing story Araminta, perhaps not your joke but someone elses? Has anyone ever hit a crow? I have traveled a lot on country roads and I have never hit one. Perhaps they are too smart. They seem to have a knack of moving out of the way just at the last moment, even when feasting on carrion. Pity some other birds and animals don't have the same skill.

Lachlan
Lachlan's picture

And yet they're cutting funding from universities...

I guess now we can explain why gov't revenue is collapsing- they're making the same amount as ever, just it is all disappearing into silly projects. Yes, ecological research is important, but this particular study isn't!

My theory about the disproportionate rates would be that people in cars try and slow down for wildlife whenever possible. Because semi trailers and road-trains can't break as quickly(or it would be dangerous for them to try), they don't slow down. Hence, they clean up more wildlife. 

Where's my million bucks? Just think of all the camera equipment if could buy with it!surprise

Maybe it would have been more useful to spend the money on trying to develop something that makes a sound that warns the wildlife traffic is coming?

Oh, and btw, has anyone been noticing a much higher roadkill rate with all the wet weather on the east coast? There seems to be a massive number of live (and skittled) foxes around. 

pacman
pacman's picture

Night Parrot wrote:

Has anyone ever hit a crow? I have traveled a lot on country roads and I have never hit one.

many years ago when I worked in Bundaberg, Qld a Kiwi (sorry, New Zealand) born female colleague drove my brand new (2 days from memory) work vehicle to Rockhampton for a meeting; when she returned she reported that she had hit a crow; for the obvious reason (not that she was Kiwi but that noone hits a crow) I did not believe her until this had been substantiated by the Maintenance Supervisor who went with her and by some remaining evidence on the now not quite brand new vehicle  

Peter

Woko
Woko's picture

Surely if semi-trailers & road trains can't brake as quickly as cars then they should be travelling more slowly. To do otherwise would be irresponsible driving I would have thought. There's nothing like a slower speed to save wildlife & people. Anyway, why the rush when there are so many beautiful Acacias & Eucalypts to smell?

Because there are now western grey kangaroos in our area I contacted council who put up warning signs & these seem to have had some positive effect. However, my observations tell me that there are still many drivers in my area, particularly quarry truck drivers, who are either illiterate or couldn't give a stuff or both.

On the whole I think more respect is shown wildlife on our roads but there are still drivers who through their speed show they're not concerned about wildlife health & who will deliberately kill lizards particularly. 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

My question would be - surely there was visible trauma, and anyone could tell that a "non traumatic" cause of death is unlikely. Our Forest Ravens (we dont have crows) in Tassie, will sit on the road until the very last second, and casually hop out of harms way, but the minute I stop to take a photo, they fly far far away, hence sighted often, never photographed (not good enough to post).

I drive a lot as part of my job, mostly country roads, and I reckon I have seen less than a handful of car struck Ravens in 33 years.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Lachlan
Lachlan's picture

I read about this experiment in the US once where they tested people's reaction to different animals on the road. One was a tortoise (I think, from memory). Apparently, during one run, a truck drive going the opposite way swerved over into the next lane and the onto the shoulder just so that he could hit the miniscule tortoise. Some people just don't care. 

For some truck driver's credit, they can't really slow down. Many supermarkets are putting them on really tight schedules where there is an extraordinarily small margin for delivery (and at awful times), after which they will be rejected. But even with trucks, it does seem a bit odd that there were 200 dead crows; I've never seen one be hit either. 

Woko
Woko's picture

Can't really slow down, Lachlan? I have no trouble in slowing down. I simply take my foot off the accelerator & apply the brake. Easy. Just because drivers are under pressure doesn't excuse them from speeding. I'm sure the courts would agree. Perhaps the drivers need to be talking with their union & perhaps the authorities need to be whacking the supermarkets. 

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