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Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 18:39:01 +1000 (EST)
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Subject: Bird scaring
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G'day Birders,
                this weeks 'New Scientist' has a little article about some 
researchers =
who are trying to condition captive breed Rhea's to fear predators. =
There is a link (included below) to a web site, which is, unfortunately 
in Portuguese (I assume), but the article says enough. The pictures on =
the site are rather amusing.

Graham Turner
"VISITORS to the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, 
Brazil, =
would be forgiven for fearing that their breakfast had been spiked. 
They =
may well be treated to the sight of a black-caped figure wearing a =
horror-movie mask running round the campus after a large flightless =
bird, while a colleague manoeuvres a stuffed jaguar on a wheelbarrow.

These earnest researchers are trying, reader Lauro Venancio Zier 
assures =
us, to teach captive-born rheas to run away from their natural =
predators. An admirable aim when the birds are about to be released 
into =
the wild, and if you don't believe us there are pictures at = cienciahoje/chdia/n966.htm.

The perils of trying to manipulate rhea psychology are illustrated, =
however, by the observation that the birds subjected to this treatment =
have in fact developed a healthy fear of wheelbarrows."

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