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Thread subject: Anthropomorphizing
Name Date Message
Tim P 03/21/05 08:38 am  The Female Osprey hasnât been seen regularly at the nest if at all.
A lot of people will be upset if last years Female (Betty)doesnât return.
This is why I donât like to apply human characteristics to wild animals by naming them.
It makes People sad when things donât work out as they would like.
Things like this happen all the time in nature
This Male has been busy preparing the nest this morning bringing sticks and rebuilding.
He seems to be much more diligent regarding nest building then The Male of last year.
Hopefully he will entice a mate and continue his lineage giving us the opportunity to observe
the wonders of nature.
karen 03/21/05 09:33 am hard not to anthropomorphize when we watch the male work so hard on the nest and keep looking out for someone! I truly hope we get a mated pair so we can have the incredible oppty that this cam provides to follow the life cycle of these birds.
cathy 03/21/05 10:10 am When I think of all the birds that have mated, raised chicks, migrated and returned or not for millenia - unobserved as we currently observe them, these particular birds (male, female or Betty, Dennis) are just symbols. If having the birds on the web gets people excited about the larger issues of habitat and toxics that affect these birds, its good to have a stake in each individual bird's survival. Birds don't seem to have a choice about their behavior - what they do is just who they are. I don't know how they feel - their feeling set may be totally different from mine. Knowing these birds and watching and hearing their behavior has motivated me to try to do something for the many unnamed and unwatched. What I do may not save any osprey but I have to do something for them - even though I am on the west coast and these ospreys are on the east coast - so whatever I do won't affect these individuals.
Melanie 03/21/05 10:42 am As far as I'm concerned, what*ever* pair on the nest will always be Betty and Dennis. Just as long as there is a pair on the nest.
Marie 03/21/05 10:55 am Amen Cathy,
Every little bit helps . I have countless stories of humans that have a passion for Birds and have really gone on to help these creatures and mankind too.
Take for instance an Iraeli ornithologist who is an expert in bird migration patterns across the middle east. His passion for birds has helped save the Israeli airforce half a billion dollars in hardware, and the lives of pilots and of the migrating birds. When aircraft collide with birds it is amazing the impact. For instance a Honey Buzzard ie HAWK can destroy a 5, 000,000 dollar Skyhawk/plane. So now the pilots are told to stay out of bird soaring areas during the peak migration months. Birds generally soar at 3,000ft but when the thermals are real good they can rise to 10, 000ft. So now all pilots get detailed maps of where the birds are and at what altitudes.In the last 20 yrs only two aircraft have been downed by birds. The only exception for pilots to fly in those zones are at times of war. One example of how man can make a difference......
Cecilia 03/21/05 05:59 pm I understand your reservations about naming them Tim but I think Melanie and Cathy make good points...the names Betty and Dennis are really honorariums in a honor of the real Pulestons and also to make posting about and discussing the nest easier. Even the fun names we gave the chicks relieved us of the awkwardness of "the male chick pecked"...and let us say "Freedom pecked"... If you look at your post you will see how many extra words you had to use to avoid saying Betty & Dennis :-)

I still think there's a good chance Betty will show up but I can just imagine the discussions that will take place if she doesn't and we all have to come to terms with what to call the new female. I hope that doesn't happen but as the warning on the site says..."The camera on this site provides an uncensored view of nature"..and we could be in for a rough ride. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Celeste 03/21/05 07:05 pm All great points.....and I definitely feel the same way as Cec does regarding the names Betty & can be used for any osprey couple in the nest as a tribute to the work the Pulestons did for the osprey. And as Cathy stated....anything that heightens awareness for this bird, whether it directly affects the nest or helps other osprey in some way is important. Those of us who have observed before realize that this is nature uncensored with or without names. I agree it is definitely easier to have names and write obs with names than without. David Gessner asked us the very same question last September regarding anthopomorphizing....whether or not we felt our observations reflected human observations vs what was actually going on in the many interesting things to think about and discuss! All opportunities to learn!
Tim P 03/21/05 07:43 pm I love having this discussion and hearing everyone’s point of view, especially Cathy's idea about feelings.

"Feelings" That is what inspired me to begin this thread. Via the text I could detect everyone’s emotion regarding "The missing Female"

Cathy also states: “What I do may not save any osprey" To that point "I say what we are doing here as a group may very well save Osprey one day"

I consider the observation board as a scientific data base with great information that each one of us contributes to. We had this discussion last year when I made the Chickzilla reference. I never intended it to be the name of the animal, I was trying only to describe attitude. I never asked anyone to stop referring to the Birds with human names; I just don’t want people to have their feelings hurt. Cecilia, yes I have historically gone out of my way avoid calling them by name. As I sad last year ,one day maybe, just maybe The Osprey will tell us their real names. Great conversation Ladies, Thanx. ;)

Marie 03/21/05 09:40 pm Psssst.....the osprey told me to tell you its real name.....For your info......Their scientific name is......

Pandion haliaetus....... comes from the mythical king of Athens, 'Pandion,' whose daughters were turned into birds, and the Greek words "halos", which referes to the sea, and aetos, meaning an eagle The common name is from the Latin word, ossifragus, meaning" a bone breaker" . Ospreys are also called Sea Hawks and Fish Hawks. One can see why they are sometinmes referred to as Sea eagles when one studies the Greek meaning of the scientific name. Hope this helps. We always knew it had royal lineage.....
Celeste 03/22/05 04:37 am We are a special group aren't we?! :)
Oh and "bravo" Marie! I knew the Latin name....but not the background behind the name.....
RonS 03/22/05 09:14 am Great discussion. Thanks for starting it, Tim. Here's another thought. In the Interesting Info thread, Karen states that we are not students per se, just loyal Osprey observers. I would like to differ. We are all, in fact, both students and teachers. Each of us brings our unique strengths to this "community" and contributes accordingly. But we also teach through our frailities and foibles. And the fact that we learn from each other makes us students indeed.
Marie 03/22/05 09:31 am OH the wisdom of RON........
Are you part Owl my know what they say about OWLS............wisdom is your middle name.......
Talking of owls ....a friend just sent me pics of two great horned owls sitting together yesterday in a tree at the golf course where the ospreys nest on the ball field that I visited so much last year. The ospreys used to fly into the golf course which is very close and bring home to the young gold fish......Now are these two owls going to be trouble this year for my ospreys?
RonS 03/22/05 09:52 am But according to my kids (and wife) I'm one of these OWLS:
O for OLD
W for Wacky
L for Loony and
S for Senile!!!
Marie 03/22/05 10:15 am comes to us all.. One thing is for sure RON.......none of us can get out of this state we are all presently in, called life.......( ALIVE). So we all need to relax and enjoy life as we know it.
karen 03/22/05 11:08 am Hi Ron just to clarify my comment ... it was in my email to Ron Biregard who is head of Ornithology at UNC and works with matriculated students and I thought perhaps I imposing on his time with my questions since we are not his UNC students... I have so enjoyed the education I have I obtained from my interest in birds and especially this website and this group .... and I agree with you that we all take turns being students and teachers ... the interplay of ideas is amazing and I love that fact that it broadens my thinking beyond my everday work/home world. One year ago I never posted because I felt I had little to add to this group but this year as you all can see I am a regular and proud of it!
Tim P 03/22/05 06:00 pm Obi Ron Kanobi.

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