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Re: hovering diversity (was Re: Ornithurine diversity)

Jim Cunningham (jrccea@bellsouth.net) complains:

> The first of the quotes below, "Yes, I've always......", wasn't me.
> Don't know who said that.

It was me.  Often I'll explicitly state "first quoting me" in a
situation like that, but I was in a hurry...  I thought it would be
obvious from the ">>" that you didn't write the first part.  Sorry
that you found my words so objectionable that you felt a need to
disown them :-)  For the record, everything in this message contained
in a line with ">>" at the start was also written by me.

>> While I'll accept that there has been selection to make your
>> statement true when averaged across birds, within species your
>> reasoning doesn't really match the facts.
> Actually, it does.  

Perhaps my useage of "match" was too jargony...  What I'm on about is
that you wrote:

>> They will usually only resort to the flutter stroke 

yada yada yada...

What I'm saying is that red-tailed hawks, white tailed kites, and
american kestrels all frequent the area I'm talking about, but only
the hawks frequently kite.  The kites and kestrels "usually" use a
flutter stroke.  The kestrels and kites could choose to hunt where the
hawks do but they choose an area where the air flow pattern is
different, and since that is what they *usually* do, I wouldn't say
they "resort" to it...  And that's what I mean about your statement
not matching the facts.

>> As I mentioned before, I've only once seen a kite kite, but most of
>> the times I've seen a kite in the air it's been using a flutter
>> stroke.
> This means that when you saw them using the flutter stroke, there was
> not a sufficient source of atmospheric lift available.  

You sayin' they can't cruise a few hundred meters over toward the
bluffs?  I'm sayin' the source is available but they would prefer to
flutter over their preferred terrain.  So again, I wouldn't call it

>> Both animals typically hover over flat grassy areas.
> A condition where there is often no significant atmospheric lift
> available close to the ground.

Yes, and they *choose* that location instead of hovering over very
close by areas that do have significant atmospheric lift.  [I think
I've killed my horse.]

>> I have seen red-tailed hawks flutter, but they're the opposite of
>> kites;
> That went over my head.  In what way are they opposites (this is
> actually more a question involving the jargon meaning of the term
> 'opposites') ?

Along the dimension of "likelihood that you'll see them using a
flutter stroke given that they are hovering" and "likelihood that
you'll see them kiting given that they are hovering".  Kestrels and
kites will be at one end and red-tailed hawks at the other.  The
opposite end, if you will.

> I see [red-tails] flutter fairly often, but there are a lot of them
> around here, and its so flat that we give names to the highest
> cotton rows (our equivilent of mountains :-)

I'm willing to bet that in absolute numbers I see more of them than
you, though, and around here they really don't flutter much.  You're
much more likely to see them soaring or sitting on a telephone pole.
But...  if they're hovering... they're kiting.

> I agree with Mickey on this (and yeah, Mickey -- I know your general
> objection to statements of agreement..... :-)

Ga-ack!!  I have no general objection to people saying they agree with
something!!!  I have an objection to people sending "me too"
messages.  It's effectively the same as:

   Q: Somebody just posted a query to the net, and I want to get the
   answer too. What should I do?

Go to: http://www.templetons.com/brad/emily.html to see the answer.  I
note in passing that if you take that question and replace "the
answer" with "the pdf file", it covers a certain situation that occurs
here with a bit too much regularity...

For more, do a google search containing the term "netiquette" and the
phrase "I agree".

For those of you not on VRTPaleo, Jim is referring to my complaint
about a prominent VPer who has what I consider an unfortunate tendency
to act like a ditto head (do the search I just recommended if you don't
know what that means).  And Jim, you in particular might want to do
that search if you still don't understand what I was complaining about
(no offense intended).  The person in question may be a brilliant
individual with a wealth of information to provide to the world, but
he is frequently not a very good netizen.  In my opinion...

Mickey P. Rowe     (mrowe@lifesci.ucsb.edu)