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Thread: Techniques and Practices of Catching A Bird

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Techniques and Practices of Catching A Bird

    I've just spent half an hour in a tense standoff with a chicken.

    I don't know how it got into my back yard, but it apparently can't get out without going through my house, which it keeps trying to do surreptitiously. I tried to just shoo it out the front door, where it could probably get between the bars of my front gate, but its response to this was to retreat to the back yard again.

    I'm assuming it belongs to my neighbors. It's a juvenile, but not a newly hatched chick. (I don't know the term--it's about half the size of the adult hen they have.)

    I try to catch it, but I've always been terrible at catching birds. For something that much dumber than me, its reflexes are aggravatingly attuned to my movements in just such a way as to make this difficult.

    Wait, now it's in my fucking kitchen. It won't go out front because it's scared or something.

    WTF, bird? Just go, or hold the fuck still so I can put you back where you belong.


    UPDATE: OK, cornered it in my bathroom. Checkmate, chicken. Victory is mine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

  2. #2
    Got a wire hanger? Unbend it.. then bend a hook into one end that gets shallow towards the bend. Just sweep it's feet with the hook, and it should catch at the ankle.

    OR.. don't, and video tape the chase.
    Quote Originally Posted by whatloveihave View Post
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  3. #3
    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    I've just spent half an hour in a tense standoff with a chicken.

    I don't know how it got into my back yard, but it apparently can't get out without going through my house, which it keeps trying to do surreptitiously. I tried to just shoo it out the front door, where it could probably get between the bars of my front gate, but its response to this was to retreat to the back yard again.

    I'm assuming it belongs to my neighbors. It's a juvenile, but not a newly hatched chick. (I don't know the term--it's about half the size of the adult hen they have.)

    I try to catch it, but I've always been terrible at catching birds. For something that much dumber than me, its reflexes are aggravatingly attuned to my movements in just such a way as to make this difficult.

    Wait, now it's in my fucking kitchen. It won't go out front because it's scared or something.

    WTF, bird? Just go, or hold the fuck still so I can put you back where you belong.
    can you toss a blanket over it from a distance (then quickly wrap it up and throw it outside)? That's how one of my old teachers famously caught a hummingbird that was trapped in the classroom. I think it lived.

    or you could keep it as a pet!

  4. #4
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    Got a wire hanger? Unbend it.. then bend a hook into one end that gets shallow towards the bend. Just sweep it's feet with the hook, and it should catch at the ankle.

    OR.. don't, and video tape the chase.
    Quote Originally Posted by chobani View Post
    can you toss a blanket over it from a distance (then quickly wrap it up and throw it outside)? That's how one of my old teachers famously caught a hummingbird that was trapped in the classroom. I think it lived.

    or you could keep it as a pet!
    Both good ideas. I resolved the situation through superior tactics a moment ago, but I will definitely keep these in mind if it happens again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chobani View Post
    can you toss a blanket over it from a distance (then quickly wrap it up and throw it outside)? That's how one of my old teachers famously caught a hummingbird that was trapped in the classroom. I think it lived.

    or you could keep it as a pet!
    Never throw something over a hummingbird. We did this once in the Carribbean and I think it was injured in the process. We took it outside and it started flying, but sort of going up and down and not straight. Another hummingbird began flying right underneath it as if to hold it up. Everyone was like omg, look at that, look at how he's helping him fly. And then a hawk comes out of fucking nowhere and snatches the injured one, leaving the other hummingbird doing a U-turn and just trailing hopelessly after them. It was traumatic.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    I try to catch it, but I've always been terrible at catching birds. For something that much dumber than me, its reflexes are aggravatingly attuned to my movements in just such a way as to make this difficult.
    I've spent a non-trivial amount of time observing chickens, and trying to catch various types of fowl.

    First thing to remember is that your being smarter is part of the problem. You are smarter, which means you spend time thinking about more things. You have a generalist brain. Much of the chicken brain is dedicated to one thing: don't get caught. Being a good general athlete isn't going to win a specialized competition--and that's what catching a chicken is.

    This becomes apparent when you see how the chicken paces itself. it doesn't waste energy. They move only as fast as they need to to reliably get away, and they are always scanning you and their environment for escape paths, and always keeping a burst of energy coiled. They also hold their tail up specifically so you will try to grab it--but the second you close, the tail and head drop. If you know this, you can plan for it.

    But, be aware that they aren't just watching your position. They're keeping track of how big you are--and how big they aren't. They will spend all their creep pacing time to circle to find a gap they can slip through that you can't--usually taking advantage of height differences. They may not be smart, but that don't mean they're all dumb. They're just very specialized.

    On the upside, they're perfect prey for persistence predators because the entire time they're running from you, their little hearts are pounding themselves to death. You know they're close to death if your see them running with their beak open and their tongue hanging out.


    I don't recommend the blanket method, or the coat hanger method. The blanket method is better than a net, but really, you're just bringing the bird its own escape route. Once you toss the blanket, you are putting a barrier between your line of sight and the bird--that triggers its ninja power. Even if it is under the blanket, you'd have to tackle quickly to keep it there, and you increase the likelihood of injuring the bird--not by tackling, but because you will be tackling blindly and crushing it with the blanket even if you aren't physically on it.

    The coat hanger method sounds like a neat trick if your intent is to slaughter the bird, but their feet are pretty delicate. Seems to me you'd be quite likely to break their toes or legs doing that--or cutting them.

    The best method is to have a corner you can corral them into--or being fast and willing to fall. The best chicken catchers I've seen have no compunction about getting down on the ground to snag their prey. It's like tackle football but the football is fragile and can run.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  7. #7
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Never throw something over a hummingbird. We did this once in the Carribbean and I think it was injured in the process. We took it outside and it started flying, but sort of going up and down and not straight. Another hummingbird began flying right underneath it as if to hold it up. Everyone was like omg, look at that, look at how he's helping him fly. And then a hawk comes out of fucking nowhere and snatches the injured one, leaving the other hummingbird doing a U-turn and just trailing hopelessly after them. It was traumatic.
    "Steve! Steeeve!" Angel cried desperately. "Are you ok? I saw what happened. Those fucking bastards!"

    "I think so", said Steve, then he juddered a moment, and swallowed back some bile. He hoped it was bile. It might have been blood--but not being a carnivore he wasn't sure. He was sure it didn't taste like nectar. "I just need a moment. I think I have a concussion. Where am I?

    "Oh! Steven! Thank god." Angel would have fought back tears but birds don't weep from sorrow. Instead her nictating membranes flickered in time with her heartbeat.

    Angel swept round in front of Steve, checking his eyes. They were big limpid pools of black, but she couldn't tell if there was any deviation in his pupil dilation. She extended a foot and two toes.

    "How many toes am I showing you Steve?"

    Steve struggled to focus. Normally, he'd have welcomed this opportunity to ogle Angel's dainty feet. He'd been working up the courage to bang her for a good two weeks now, but lacked the self-confidence to seal the deal. But he did enjoy tracing the tiny scales on her legs with his eyes, imagining tracing them delicately with his beak as he nuzzled her breast with the back of his head--then, suddenly he'd sweep his beak up her body and hook it over her neck, swinging himself bodily around to mount her. Mid-flight. Like a fucking BOSS.

    "Two?"

    "Is that what you see, or is that just memory?" asked Angel.

    "What's memory?" forgot Steve.

    "Forget about it." Angel said encouragingly.

    "What?"

    Angel sighed in exasperated mirth. "Ok, we're gonna make it, and later we're gonna make babies."

    "I'm no good at paper mache."

    "When we get you safe, we're gonna have a long talk. Or maybe not. I might be forced to take advantage of this situation."

    "Ok" said Steve, who being male, had realized this was usually a good response when unable to follow the train of thought of the female he wanted to bang.

    "Can you fly towards me?"

    Steve attempted to move forward. He'd never wanted to fly toward Angel more than now that he couldn't. Instead of going forward he drifted up lazily.

    "Are you trying?" she plead.

    "Like you wouldn't believe." sobbed Steve.

    "Ok, I'm gonna try something else. We'll make it Steve. I promise."

    Angel swooped round and got beneath him. Finally, she thought. Though this really wasn't how she'd imagined it. She always imagined him tracing the tiny scales on her legs with his beak, nuzzling her breast with the back of his head, then suddenly, overwhelming her as he swept his beak up and hooked it around her neck, swinging himself round her body and mounting her. Mid-flight. Like a fucking BOSS.

    The only part of this that matched her fantasy was that they were mid-flight. And of course, it was Steve.

    Angel started to press against him, she could hear the beating of his wings, the downthrust of his strength, still so potent even though he was clearly not fully aware. She could feel his heartbeat, throbbing next to her head, and imagined her heart beating in time with his. She pushed forward, to guide this stupid stupid boy she loved to the safety of the trees.

    Suddenly the load was lifted. Steve was gone. Angel searched around, bewildered. Had he recovered? Her heart fluttered as she dared to hope. There he was! In the clutches of a demon. She raced after them, screaming inside that she would save him. She would save Steve. She would kill that fucker and drink it's blood like nectar and she and Steve would have lots of babies who would grow up to be hawk-slayers and the legend of this day, the day love overcame predation, this day would be remembered for generations to come.

    But the gap didn't lessen. It got bigger. And Steve stopped struggling. And Angel stopped hoping, and fell to the earth.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    "Steve! Steeeve!" Angel cried desperately. "Are you ok? I saw what happened. Those fucking bastards!"

    "I think so", said Steve, then he juddered a moment, and swallowed back some bile. He hoped it was bile. It might have been blood--but not being a carnivore he wasn't sure. He was sure it didn't taste like nectar. "I just need a moment. I think I have a concussion. Where am I?

    "Oh! Steven! Thank god." Angel would have fought back tears but birds don't weep from sorrow. Instead her nictating membranes flickered in time with her heartbeat.

    Angel swept round in front of Steve, checking his eyes. They were big limpid pools of black, but she couldn't tell if there was any deviation in his pupil dilation. She extended a foot and two toes.

    "How many toes am I showing you Steve?"

    Steve struggled to focus. Normally, he'd have welcomed this opportunity to ogle Angel's dainty feet. He'd been working up the courage to bang her for a good two weeks now, but lacked the self-confidence to seal the deal. But he did enjoy tracing the tiny scales on her legs with his eyes, imagining tracing them delicately with his beak as he nuzzled her breast with the back of his head--then, suddenly he'd sweep his beak up her body and hook it over her neck, swinging himself bodily around to mount her. Mid-flight. Like a fucking BOSS.

    "Two?"

    "Is that what you see, or is that just memory?" asked Angel.

    "What's memory?" forgot Steve.

    "Forget about it." Angel said encouragingly.

    "What?"

    Angel sighed in exasperated mirth. "Ok, we're gonna make it, and later we're gonna make babies."

    "I'm no good at paper mache."

    "When we get you safe, we're gonna have a long talk. Or maybe not. I might be forced to take advantage of this situation."

    "Ok" said Steve, who being male, had realized this was usually a good response when unable to follow the train of thought of the female he wanted to bang.

    "Can you fly towards me?"

    Steve attempted to move forward. He'd never wanted to fly toward Angel more than now that he couldn't. Instead of going forward he drifted up lazily.

    "Are you trying?" she plead.

    "Like you wouldn't believe." sobbed Steve.

    "Ok, I'm gonna try something else. We'll make it Steve. I promise."

    Angel swooped round and got beneath him. Finally, she thought. Though this really wasn't how she'd imagined it. She always imagined him tracing the tiny scales on her legs with his beak, nuzzling her breast with the back of his head, then suddenly, overwhelming her as he swept his beak up and hooked it around her neck, swinging himself round her body and mounting her. Mid-flight. Like a fucking BOSS.

    The only part of this that matched her fantasy was that they were mid-flight. And of course, it was Steve.

    Angel started to press against him, she could hear the beating of his wings, the downthrust of his strength, still so potent even though he was clearly not fully aware. She could feel his heartbeat, throbbing next to her head, and imagined her heart beating in time with his. She pushed forward, to guide this stupid stupid boy she loved to the safety of the trees.

    Suddenly the load was lifted. Steve was gone. Angel searched around, bewildered. Had he recovered? Her heart fluttered as she dared to hope. There he was! In the clutches of a demon. She raced after them, screaming inside that she would save him. She would save Steve. She would kill that fucker and drink it's blood like nectar and she and Steve would have lots of babies who would grow up to be hawk-slayers and the legend of this day, the day love overcame predation, this day would be remembered for generations to come.

    But the gap didn't lessen. It got bigger. And Steve stopped struggling. And Angel stopped hoping, and fell to the earth.
    You son of a bitch.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  9. #9
    DOA Space Invaders Champion Neville's Avatar
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    I had a pet parakeet that I caught as a kid. I was in my bobby hill phase when my mom wakes me up and tells me there's a bird in the yard. So I run outside in my tighty wighties and a shirt to catch this bird. Then I realized I have nothing to catch it with so I used my shirt. I ripped it off and bundled it up threw it at the bird and the shirt unfolded perfectly and took the bird out. I walked back to the house victoriously bundled shirt in hand. Articuno lived happily ever after for the next 11 years.

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    non-canonical Light Leak's Avatar
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    ^
    I had a pet parakeet too. My mom felt bad for him living in a cage so she would open the cage door and let him fly around the house. I would have to catch him at night to put him back in his cage. I did this by chasing him around and waving my arms around. This prevented him from landing on anything. He would get tired out after a few minutes of this. Then I'd let him land. He was easy to grab once he was tired.

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