Employer right; wasn't the workers who werestealing
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Many of our readers share these columns with distant friends. Such a recipient, who lives in Virginia, forwarded what she referred to as “an amazing story.” The story was complete with photos. The copy read in part: “A company that manufactures and installs complete car wash systems, including the money-taking and money-changing systems, set one up in Fredrick, Md. The new owner soon complained that he was losing significant amounts of money from his new car wash each week. The manufacturer believed that it had to be one or more employees who had a key to the money boxes. However, the new owner did not believe his employes were thieves, so he set up a series of cameras to catch the culprits. Sure enough, the camera caught the thieves all right — a bird sitting on the change box put its head down into the coin machine and then backed up inside and took the coins. When that bird pulled out its head, it had three quarter coins in its beak! The camera showed over a period of time that it was just not one bird but several working together. Once the thieves were identified they found over $4,000 worth of quarters on the roof of the car wash and more under a nearby tree!”
The photos showed a bird that I could not absolutely identify. I believe, however, it was a starling. Indeed, that is an amazing story!
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Another series of computer photographs arrived from a Colebrook reader. The first was of a sharp-shinned hawk that had alighted on a birdbath. About eight or so inches from it was a hummingbird in flight. Neither bird seemed to pay any attention to the other! After commenting on the hawk-hummer photo, the note read in part: “The other bird photos were taken July 18, 2012. I wonder if it was stress related from the hot weather as to their losing their head feathers. Others have seen the same issue. Wanted to share with you.”
I regret to say that, although the unidentified “bald” birds seemed to be of similar size and shape, I could not accurately identify them. The birds in the photos appeared to be similar to blue jays without head feathers. In years past other readers have made a similar inquiry and one reader referred to his Jay as a “baldheaded jay bird.”
All birds are susceptible to attack from ectoparasites. Some of these include: fleas, larvae of calliphorid flies, mosquitoes, black flies and midges, all of whom suck blood from birds. In the case of our Colebrook reader's bird, I believe it was infested with feather mites and/or feather lice, both of which subsist on feathers and skin. When a blue jay's or other species' head is attacked by these mites and/or lice, the normal jay crest no longer exists and is replaced with a grayish or whitish color that can give the appearance of the bird being bald.
In time, birds so infested will rid themselves of these parasites by preening, dusting or water bathing. In the case of blue jays, following their next molt, its crest will once again adorn the head.
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One of our Derry readers wrote on Labor Day: “Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your column on Saturday. I send it to my brother in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. My husband and I moved here from suburban Cleveland 16-1/2 years ago for job relocation and we love our adopted state. Also every summer occasionally, and as recent as this past Saturday, Sept. 1, we have heard a whip poor will sing in the woods around 5 a.m. Have a wonderful fall and thank you for your columns.“
Sorry to say I haven't heard a whip poor will calling for several years. When I first moved here, after having worked for my board and room at other farms, this old house (circa 1790s) had been empty. For furniture, I had a borrowed bed, two old kitchen chairs, and a cast~off table. The noise of just walking echoed throughout the house. That first night I left the front door open and the screen door shut. Next morning I was awakened by a series of loud, endlessly repeated, “whip-poor-wills”! The bird apparently had used the front door rock as its favorite place to begin a new day. In time, I learned to look forward to its cacophony.
Stacey Cole's address is 529 W. Swanzey Road, Swanzey 03446
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