Wednesday, April 9, 2008

They're Birds, And They're Spec-Tacular

(I think I'll just stick with the science theme today.)

And I just want to start off by stating that I have absolutely nothing against scientists. Nothing at all. In fact, one could reasonably argue that I have a thing for scientists. (Well, OK, scientist.) That being said, I'm not trying to offend any scientists (or scientist) when I say that the rest of us (of the non-scientist sort) tend to find it rather amusing when you're being all scientific-y and stuff and don't seem to realize how funny some of what you are saying is to the lay folk.

Case in point: The Parus Major. That would be a bird. Apparently, the Parus Major is also known as "The Great Tit". (Insert stoic scientist-type here) More than one bird? That is correct. Those would be "Great Tits". Or "A Pair of Great Tits." (Insert giggling lay-folk here.) The fact that this can be repeated over and over by scientists not even cracking so much as a smile while the rest of us buffoons are stifling giggles is amusement in and of itself.

That brings me to the study that suggests that "flexible great tits can survive". Well, thank God! Of course they can. Tell me more about the oh-so resilient great tits!

Research from Holland shows that rising temperatures cause caterpillars to come out earlier than they have come out in previous years. This is an important thing to take note of because caterpillars are a major food source for great tits. (OK, see, that part, not so funny. I don't particularly find much joy in picturing great tits with caterpillars. It's just not the way that great tits bring me happiness, is all.) Thus, when young tits emerge, boy, are they nice! Er, I mean, sadly, the tits cannot find the food that they so urgently need. Troubling indeed. What's a tit to do? (Or what can I do for the tits? Some coddling maybe? Constant nurturing perhaps? I'd be happy to help out.)

It was due to this occurence that led to fears that great tits could disappear altogether. Now that WOULD be a tragedy! A world without tits (let alone great ones)! Can you imagine?! (Oh, please, I'd rather not!) But guess what? That's right. Tits will be around for quite a bit longer. (Exhale. Sigh of relief.)

Turns out that great tits are able to adjust themselves. (Yeah, well, not all of 'em. Oh, wait. Again with the birds? Sorry. See? Lame folk. Er, lay-folk.) They change how they lay their eggs so that they do it earlier and that way all of the new tits don't miss out on the arrival of the wild animals (ie, the caterpillars) that the little tits will need to survive. With proper nourishment, they'll be able to grow into great big tits that we will all be able to enjoy for generations to come!

It's good to know that science and nature and things like that have a way of sort of taking care of themselves when they can. And when it comes to great tits, knowing that they can take care of themselves so that they'll be around us for a long, long time? Well, that's really good to know. And those Dutch scientists who bring us news like this and just keep repeating "great tits" "great tits" "great tits" and thinking nothing of it? Well, I think I like them the best. Now, who's up for birdwatching?

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