Archive for June, 2009

Google Labs City Tours

Google Labs has just recently launched city tours and it’s pretty interesting to see what it suggests when you punch in Vancouver.

The system generates a schedule complete with maps and walking times as well as time spent at the various attractions.  Whether you’re a visitor or a local it provides some pretty solid suggestions for everybody.

Depending on the date you select there may or may not be a “tour” set up but it also allows you to play tourguide and input your own.

Dear Crows: I am not a predator

In late May, generally, according to the quick research I’ve done, crows turn into death from above. And by death, I mean “scare the hell out of you”. This is the time when their chicks turn into fledglings, getting ready to pop out of the nest and get ready to fly. Obviously they’re pretty vulnerable, so the crow community goes into red alert.

For some reason, this season is still in full swing in Vancouver, having either started later, or lasted longer than normal – if you live anywhere with trees near sidewalks, you’ll know what I mean.

Here’s the good news – like all animals, attack is never the first option. Attack risks harm, and being harmed only makes sense when warnings don’t work. Which is what this is – warning behaviour.

Now, I’ve tried to have a reasonable discussion with them, carefully explaining that the sidewalks are city owned and available to all. As well, I tried to point out that humans aren’t big fans of eating crow babies, doubly-so here in Vancouver, with it’s notable vegan demographics. But their reply was alway, “KAW!” (wing in face.) Jerks.

So, here’s what you do;

1) Don’t freak out. That rush past your neck wasn’t a missed attack, it was a warning. And you’ll want to be calm because you’re going to do one of two things, and one option involves cars, and you want to be thinking straight.

2) Move on as fast as you can, calmly. You’ll get swooped again, but the point is to not turn spaz (which never helps with the crows) and get out of their nest area fast. A second option is to veer off and cross the street. Remember: cars. The internet says carry a stick or an umbrella to wave at them, but that sounds like escalation to me. Just get out of there.

3) Enjoy your rare, urban interaction with the wild that doesn’t involve skunks and raccoons.

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