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Friday, October 19, 2007Owls Too Want To live In Cities Not In Jungle Anymore..........
Old-growth forests and rural settings are so yesterday, at least for barred owls. The large raptors are thriving in the biggest city in North Carolina, where groomed yards with sparse trees serve as a first-class habitat and cars are the birds' only moving threat.
Results from an extensive survey of barred owls (Strix varia) in Charlotte, N.C., are surprising to some biologists, who had assumed the owl species would have trouble in an urban setting.
“If you read about barred owls in the textbooks, it says they need large stands of old-growth forest to survive,” said Rob Bierregaard, an ecologist and ornithologist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who has directed an ongoing study for the past six years. “Either the barred owls in Charlotte haven’t read that book or the book is wrong, because they are really here and apparently doing quite well.”
The team concluded there is a third possibility: that old suburban neighborhoods in fact are an old-growth forest, at least as far as the barred owls are concerned.
Prime real estate
A century ago, Charlotte was blanketed in rolling farmland, providing few or no suitable tree homes for barred owls. As the land was replaced by residential neighborhoods and the associated backyard trees, Charlotte became prime raptor real estate.
“As the farms have been abandoned, the new neighborhoods that replaced them have planted trees,” Bierregaard said. “If you wait long enough, the barred owls are going to expand their territory, as the trees start to grow up in the newer suburban neighborhoods.”
Since 2001, Bierregaard and his colleagues, along with volunteers, have monitored about 40 nesting sites each year. Residents of the area have given big props to the efforts, reporting sightings of the birds to the Carolina Raptor Center, which sponsored the research. The resulting maps show a dozen or so owl territories in south Charlotte, each about 200 acres (nearly a square kilometer) in area.
In addition, baby barred owls equipped with miniaturized radio transmitters have beamed back their whereabouts as they matured into adults and finally settled within the network of mapped nesting sites.
Urban owls and more
The preliminary findings suggest the urban barred owls are able to reproduce successfully, perhaps even better than in wild forests, as they are churning out babies faster than the adults are dying. When they do die, it is primarily due to disease or collisions with cars.
“We've had a couple die of diseases, but for most of the birds that we have had tagged, where we know how they died, they flew into a car. But it seems that mortality even from that isn’t that high," Bierregaard said. “It certainly seems that they are cranking out enough young to more than make up the difference."
When one owl dies, Bierregaard noted, there are enough owls flying in to fill the vacancy.
Other urban and suburban wildlife successes have included populations of squirrels, Canadian geese, raccoons and deer, all of whose numbers have soared in recent decades in the United States.
Feminism boosts sexual satisfaction for both men and women, a new study suggests.
Busting stereotypes that peg feminists as men-haters, a new study shows that having a feminist partner is linked with healthier, more romantic heterosexual relationships.
The study, published online this week in the journal Sex Roles, relied on surveys of both college students and older adults, finding that women with egalitarian attitudes do find mates and men do find them attractive. In fact, results reveal they are having a good time, maybe a better time than the non-feminists.
Both men and women are prone to holding negative views of feminists, the authors say. Along with the sexually unattractive stereotype, some women also view feminism as a movement for victims, or for women who aren't competent enough to achieve success on their own merit, according to the Rutgers University researchers.
Psychologists Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan carried out a laboratory survey of 242 Rutgers undergraduates and conducted an online survey of 289 older adults who had an average age of 26 and typically had been in their current relationship about four years.
Older adults have more life experience "and thus may be more likely to show an incompatibility between feminism and romantic relationships," Rudman and Phelan write. While younger females likely grew up with the attitude that "women can have it all," the researchers note older women may have come of age in the era following U.S. women's suffrage (1919) or during the women's movement that emerged in the 1960s.
The researchers looked at people's perception of their own feminism, their partner's feminism and whether they had positive views of feminists and career women. Other survey measures included overall relationship quality, agreement about gender equality, relationship stability and sexual satisfaction.
For example, relationship quality was measured with questions such as: How often do you and your partner laugh together? And how often do you and your partner quarrel? For stability measures, participants answered how often they considered terminating the relationship, as well as how often they thought their romantic relationship had a good future.
Among the findings:
* College-age women who reported having feminist male partners also reported higher quality relationships that were more stable than couples involving non-feminist male partners.
* College guys who were themselves feminists and had feminist partners reported more equality in their relationships.
* Older women who perceived their male partners as feminists reported greater relationship health and sexual satisfaction.
* Older men with feminist partners said they had more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction.
Overall, feminism and romance do go hand in hand, the scientists say.
While they aren't sure how feminism works to enhance relationship health, the researchers have some ideas. Feminist men might be more supportive of their female partner's ambitions than are traditionalists. Men with feminist partners may enjoy the extra breadwinner to share the economic burden of maintaining a household.
We talk to a lot college students here at ScholarPoint and have seen a very wide range of different college majors. We’re often blown away by some of the weird degrees we hear about. Here’s a list of some of the more unusual ones that we’ve come across.
1. Master Ranching – Showing up to college wearing spurs and riding a horse probably isn’t the best idea, unless you go to Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Institute for Ranch Management. The university is offering the first ever master degree program for ranchers. What was once a profession passed on from generation to generation is now getting sophisticated enough that it may actually require an MBA. Go figure. Graduates can expect salaries in the $50,000-$75,000 range.
2. Astrobiology – ET phone home. The University of Glamorgan in the UK offers a degree in Astrobiology, which is the search for life beyond earth. So if hunting for alien life is your thing consider a career in Astrobiology.
3. Retail Floristry – I bet you never thought working at your local flower shop required a college degree. Well, it probably doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t major in Retail Floristry anyway. Career opportunities are a step above working the cash register and include wholesaling, special event designing, and display gardening. This program is offered through Mississippi State University and graduates can expect a 90% job placement rate.
4. Professional Nanny – Sullivan University in Louisville Kentucky offers a professional nanny program, which prepares graduates to work in private residences, day care centers, children’s hospitals, and country clubs. This is a perfect career for those girls who grew up babysitting all the neighborhood kids that now want to make more than $2 per hour.
5. Sports Ministry – Graduates from this program are prepared for positions in non-profit organizations seeking to use sports as an avenue for teaching religion. This program is offered through Campbellsville University in Campbellsville Kentucky.
6. Adventure Recreation – Do you like snowboarding, scuba diving, ice climbing, or whitewater rafting? If you answered yes, perhaps you should consider doing what you love for a job and start by making it your college major. Green Mountain College in Vermont is offering major and minor programs in Adventure Recreation, which aims to place graduates in a variety of outdoor recreation careers such as those listed above.
7. Golf & Sports Turf Management – Just because you were never good at football doesn’t mean you can’t make it your job. Only you’ll be repairing the grass they tear apart every week. The course curriculum offered by Mississippi Sate University will prepare you for a career as a golf superintendent or a sports turf manager at city, school, and professional sports arenas. Graduates in this field also enjoy a 90% job placement rate.
8. Comedy: Writing and Performance – Here’s a degree program that actually requires “ a great sense of humor” as an admission requirement. Humber College in Canada offers this program to help naturally talented students hone their craft and learn the commercial side of the business. Students learn stand-up, improv, scriptwriting, and sketch comedy.
9. Organic Agriculture – Organic foods make up more than 2.5% of all food and drink sales nationwide and have been increasing by 20% per year since 1990. This makes organic farming an attractive career opportunity. This is the first organic agriculture major in the nation and is offered through Washington State University.
10. Fishing Sciences and Management – This masters program is offered by Colorado State University and focuses on fish populations for recreational and commercial fishing purposes to ensure adequate conservation and utilization. If nothing else the courses on fish psychology should at the very least help you catch more fish.