“I have fallen through the side of a whale up to my chest”

Celebrating (no, that’s not the right word) two blue whales washing up on the coast of Newfoundland, The Atlantic has A Brief History of Exploding Whales.

The world now knows that blowing up whales on purpose is best avoided. However, dead whales can still detonate on their own. In 2004, for example, the carcass of a sperm whale was being towed through the streets of Tainan City, Taiwan, when its belly burst, splattering blood and guts on nearby people, cars, and storefronts.

If you’re curious about how much pressure might cause a whale to explode, you’re in luck? Incidentally, The Royal Ontario Museum will be collecting and preserving for study the Blue Whales that washed up on Newfoundland.

“I have fallen through the side of a whale up to my chest”

Impossible to improve on this headline: “Man does C-section on dead porcupine, saves baby”

The AP’s headline is perfect, no reason to even try improving it. On Thursday, a Maine man, Jarred Buzzell saw a porcupine get hit by a car and decided to look for Bezoar, a natural occurring…thing found inside of animals. Bezoar was once thought to be an antidote to any poison, and is still used in Asian remedies (I guess?). In any case, when Buzzell cut open the dead porcupine, he found a baby porcupine he was able to revive with a brisk massage. Buzzell is currently caring for the young porcupine before finding a more appropriate home.

Impossible to improve on this headline: “Man does C-section on dead porcupine, saves baby”

Abandoned oil rigs can stay…

And that’s actually a good thing for fish.

For all the harm that the oil and gas industry inflicts on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, it does offer the marine ecosystem at least one big benefit. Offshore oil-drilling rigs serve as artificial reefs, providing shelter for animals and an anchor for plants, coral, and barnacles. Yet once a well is tapped, the federal government has required the drilling company to uproot its rig to help clear clutter that could obstruct shipping.

Abandoned oil rigs can stay…

The men who steal eggs

This 7700-word article about bird egg collecting is a strong, strong contender for the “Most New Yorkery Article” of the year. That said, it is also fascinating and full of bird and bird egg history. Additionally, the study of eggs is called Oology. I couldn’t stop reading this article.

At the turn of the twentieth century, as the conservation movement began raising awareness of endangered species, the collecting of wild-bird eggs came under scrutiny. In 1922 in London, Earl Buxton, addressing the annual meeting of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, warned of the “distinct menace” posed by egg-collecting members of the British Ornithologists’ Union, of which Lord Rothschild was a member. Indignant, Rothschild split off and, with the Reverend Francis Charles Robert Jourdain, a cantankerous Oxford-educated ornithologist who bore a scar across his forehead from falling off a cliff in search of an eagle’s nest, formed the British Oological Association. The group, which renamed itself the Jourdain Society after Jourdain died, in 1940, proclaimed that it was the only organization in the country dedicated to egg collecting.

It has not fared well. In 1954, the Protection of Birds Act outlawed the taking of most wild-bird eggs in the U.K. In 1981, some ninety species were declared Schedule 1; possession of their eggs, unless they were taken before 1954, is a crime. Meetings of the Jourdain Society, to which members wore formal attire and carried display cabinets full of eggs, became the target of spectacular raids and stings. By the nineteen-nineties, more than half of Jourdain Society members had egg-collecting convictions, according to the R.S.P.B. One member recently agreed to a radio interview only after insuring that his voice would be disguised.

“An awful lot of the ornithological knowledge we hold dear is based on the work of both professional and amateur naturalists over the course of the last two hundred years, and that involved significant amounts of collecting,” Russell said, as we passed an aisle with Jourdain’s eggs. “But today’s collectors are not what I would call ornithologists. These are obsessives who have chosen eggs as a particularly attractive thing. The suspect part of the attraction is that you’re not allowed to do it.”

(Thanks, Joe)

The men who steal eggs