Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birds Nests in the Most Bizarre Places

Few doubt the brilliance of bird nest design, but it seems our feathered friends are just as ingenious when it comes to picking locations for their future homes. They need to be, when you consider the rate at which we’re gobbling up space on our planet. Yet looking at some of the bizarre spots birds mark out as prime real estate, anyone would think this business tells you something about each bird’s taste and character.
This collared dove isn’t going to be getting any peace and quiet nested in amongst the nuts and bolts fixings of some traffic lights at a very busy junction.

Bright lights big city
This thrush and its young family have gone a step further by nesting inside the traffic light itself in Leeds city centre, seemingly oblivious to the constant traffic.

Light and airy
How a bird’s nest complete with chirping chicks came to be in a kitchen lamp inside a house is anyone’s guess. The human residents must have been away on vacation for quite a long time.

Just hanging out
The RSPB has warned people to be aware of the more unusual places in their homes that birds might use for nesting and rearing their young. Hanging baskets are a particular favourite of wrens.

Handyman about the house
Other garden birds opt for even more obscure nooks and crannies – like this robin, found nesting in a tool tidy. Perhaps it fancies itself as a bit of a DIY expert.

Check out my wheels
These nesting blackbirds were found in the wheel arch of a 4×4 police patrol car. In accordance with conservation laws, the young birds had to be left alone until they had flown the coup.

That’s just grate
Blackbirds have also been found nesting in other unusual garden locations like the mouths of wall-mounted lions’ heads. This one has plumped for an elevated grate.

Sculptural style
It’s actually not uncommon for storks to construct their stick nests close to human habitation and on man-made objects, and because they are seen as birds of good luck, they tend not to be persecuted.

Easy to contact
Weaver birds create the most elaborately woven nests of any birds, and when trees are scarce as they are in desert regions, telephone poles make equally good alternatives.

Morbid fascination

Sunday, May 24, 2009

15 of the Meanest CAPTCHAs ever

Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Bizarre Bugs with Human Faces

These mini warriors have pretty smart warfare defences. Shield bugs, or stink bugs, have glands in their thorax (the part between the head and the abdomen) between their first and second pair of legs that produce a foul-smelling liquid, which is used for defense and released when the bug feels threatened.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The horses who wear dresses

It is the traditional outfit worn by thousands of women in Bavaria and recognisable throughout the world - but now horses are getting in on the act.
Dirndl dresses have become a must-have outfit for horses who want to look good in the field.
Bavarian designer Hildegard Bergbauer, who usually creates dirndl dresses for women, has branched out and makes the outfits for not only horses but also cats and dogs.
She said she was inspired to create the outfits by watching stage shows as a youngster. 'The animals appeared on stage with little handbags and hats,' she added.
'It was a sight that I'll never forget and an experience that has shaped me. The idea has gone down really well. People think it's a lot of fun.'
The costume leapt into popular Western culture in The Sound Of Music, about the von Trapp family, starring a dirndl-attired Julie Andrews (inset) as nanny Maria.
So, if you're looking to match outfits with your pet next time you're at the boozy Munich Oktoberfest, you're in luck. Dunno how lucky your pet will feel though...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

10 Most Diabolical Insects On Earth

If you had to choose between a chance encounter with the following insects – hissing cockroaches, blister beetles, earwigs, Jerusalem crickets, Giant Wetas and the like – which ones would be your lesser evil? And would you rather take gross or venomous? Here’s our Top Ten countdown of nature’s most diabolical insects. But be advised, if you’re the jumpy kind, proceed at your own risk…

Insects are the most diverse group of animals on the planet, with species of common insects like bees, wasps, true bugs, moths and beetles ranging in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Given this diversity, picking only ten of the most “diabolical” was not an easy feat. And considering the fact that these insects make up just one million classified insects (more than half of all known organisms) of six to ten million still waiting to be discovered, undoubtedly there are more diabolical ones still lurking somewhere. But for now, read on for the known ones.

10. Cockroaches
Giant hissing cockroach on the hand (would you dare?)
9. Potato Bugs

8. Earwigs
7. Giant Wetas

6. Titan Beetles

5. Foam Grasshoppers

4. Blister Beetles

3. Mutillidaes

2. Mosquitos

1. Centipedes

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