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26 April 2015


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Reading this, and apropos of something, perhaps, I remember my mother telling me about the building of the United Nations. She and my father were starting out and living in a building on 40th Street and Second Avenue when they razed the slaughterhouse where the UN now stands, and in the process turned out armies of enormous rats that had been breeding down there for a hundred years. They were all over the place, she said, "as big as cats". My mother told me she wondered what good could from a place built on that.

Craziest thing I ever heard. Anybody know anything about this?

robt willmann

An animal other than rats that has started to move into urban areas is the coyote; this is the four-legged one and not the person smuggling illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S. They have shown up in Chicago--


This has resulted in an ongoing research project--


And they have popped up in New York City, skillfully avoiding capture by the NYPD--



Also in Detroit--



My grandmother loved the flat land in Texas, calling it "the wide open spaces". She would tell me stories of hearing the coyotes howl at night when she was growing up. Perhaps city dwellers may soon find themselves hearing the same.

Allen Thomson

No surprise in San Antonio, but here, just outside I-410 on the northwest side, we regularly hear and from time to time see coyotes. Also many deer that wander in through various easements. I suspect that Camp Bullis serves as a protected reservoir of such critters.


Allen Thomson

Bullis? Army posts usually are de facto wildlife preserves. pl


the wandering coyote story has been big news for the past week. first spotted on the upper west side, the nypd deployed 4 helicopters to try and track it -- which they were unable to do, as it disappeared into the underbrush. a couple of days ago, one was spotted in lower manhattan, where it was finally cornered and tranquilized and turned over to animal care who deemed it healthy and will release it elsewhere. they are clearly making moves into the city; a trap camera caught a mother with two pups in a west side park.

a couple of other nyc wildlife stories:

i formerly worked in the bronx and the subway i took is elevated/outdoors in the northern bronx. twice i witnessed pigeons standing on the platform and that would walk into the car, circle the pole and stand there until their exit a couple of stops later, where they'd walk off and then fly away (so they weren't injured). it was hilarious.

bees are an occasional issue, and there was a story about bees returning to their hives tinted red, and their honeycombs turning a bright red. turned out they were hitting up the nearby producer of marachino cherries.


Allen Thomson

Yes, I know. Actually, a lot of restricted government facilities are very wildlife-friendly, including such places as the Savannah River Site and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.



On thinking of pigeons, I do not ever remember seeing a baby. They must be the only birds that hatch fully grown?


"On thinking of pigeons, I do not ever remember seeing a baby. They must be the only birds that hatch fully grown?"

Hmm, when I was a boy I had a cat - a formidable huntress. A wonderful pet, but when she saw prey it was as if you flicked a switch.

As a result, I have seen baby pigeons. They do not hatch full grown. They do exist, and are actually pretty small, and were usually incomplete by the time my cat brought them.

Lest someone accuses me of letting my cat poach - she was keeping the pigeons and rabbits, moles and mice out of my dad's vegetable garden, very effectively and thoroughly so.


Col. Lang,

China Lake, where I spent some time, is effectively a Connecticut-sized preserve and used to have lots of wild horses and burros. At one point, the burros got so numerous, the Navy shot a bunch of them, which produced the inevitable reaction.

The base also contains the largest collection of petroglyphs in North America. It would probably be a major tourist attraction, but the base severely limits public access to a few tours a year--which is probably the best thing for it.

Some info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_and_Little_Petroglyph_Canyons

Allen Thomson

Also, now that I remember it, the Chernobyl Forbidden Zone, which is what it sounds like. Very critter-accommodating.

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