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Iberian birds and Bergmann's rule

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Offline Technopat

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« on: July 11, 2010, 16:10 PM »
Greetings All,
Just spent a glorious poolside weekend at a friend's chalet some 40km outside Madrid. And while snoozing on the lawn, in the shade, after lunch, I happened to open an eye and saw a huge magpie (urraca) hopping towards me. I was actually slightly "frightened" 'cos it was huge - far fatter than a plumb pigeon, and much longer (mainly tail) - and images of Hitchcock's The Birds inevitably flashed through my mind. I don't think I actually moved, other than opening that one eye, but it was enough for he/she/it to fly off to the nearest branch, just a couple of metres away, keeping a beady eye on me, and where I could see how big it was. Magpies are pretty common here in Madrid, and I imagine elsewhere, too, but I've never seen one that size. The other thing I noticed was that it kept its beak open the whole time, much the way dogs and cats do 'cos of the heat...

The matter of Bermann's rule as it (may) apply here on the Ib. Pen. has been dealt with elsewhere on the forum regarding urban foxes and in the context of mammals, and I remember mentioning somewhere that the largest fox, of many large foxes I've seen over the years, was the one I saw in Asturias a couple of summers back (can't remember the thread) and also mentioning large/small sparrows (can't remember the thread).

So, for all you bird watchers out there, do you take such birds - and sparrows and our other common-or-garden feathered friends, for granted, or are you aware of general differences in size?

Also-remember-mentioning-somewhere-the-curious-experience-of-a-magpie-seeing-off-a-peregrine-falcon regs.,
Tp
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 17:16 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Dave

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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 16:40 PM »
Hi Tp
I know, here, the size difference between various  Magpies is quite large. Also birds can appear larger depending on the light, also it could be if you were lying down things can also appear larger, glad you enjoyed you weekend. And yes, like dogs, they sweat through their tongue
regards
Dave

Offline glennie

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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 17:14 PM »
How many glasses of wine did you say you had had with lunch?

Can't find the link but I'm sure research has been done on the correlation between perceived magpie size and being half-cut.   :biggrin:

Offline Jesus Contreras

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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2010, 18:27 PM »

Dear Technopat. I think your magpie is a daily consumer of "Gazpacho Alvalle".   :o


Jesús
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Geographical Field Trips & Birdwatching in Almería - Spain

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 17:25 PM »
Greetings All,
Re. Dave's take on perspectives, yes, I know that, but had taken that into account when gauging its size. Interesting 'bout the tongue/breathing. Do all birds do it?
Re. Glennie's wine consumption, none actually 'cos I had the trip home to make, so no distortion (see above)
Re. Jesús' gazpacho-guzzling magpie theory, it's probably all that garlic that puts hairs on their chests feathers on their breasts  :dancing:

Here-I-am-trying-to-do-some-serious-research-and-nobody-takes-me-seriously-sigh regs.,
Tp
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266