Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fauna of the Central US

Since I was riding across a section of the country, and since riding that sort of terrain doesn't require a lot of attention (although a couple times my near complete lack of attention almost cost me) I had time to do some studying.

The most obvious thing to study was the street-crossing skills of the various species of wildlife common to the central US. This is what I think I learned...

1) Possums are not good at crossing streets. I don't know how many possums there may be, but their street-crossing success rate can't be any higher than 50%.

2) Whitetail deer are not very good either. But I think they outnumber possums by about 10 or even 20 to 1. So I'm going to put their success rate at 95 to 97.5%. That still makes for a damn lot of dead deer.

3) After that it gets a little less clear cut. Raccoons seem to be marginally successful...probably around 99% success rate. I also think they stink worse than most other unsuccessfull street-crossers...with the obvious exception of skunks.

4) For the purpose of this study rabbits are a sub-category of raccoons with similar success rates. Although I personally believe rabbits cross roads for the shear excitement of it and sometimes they intentionally cut it pretty close, so the numbers belie there true street-crossing talent. Rabbits are the Mountain Dew drinkers of the animal kingdom. They are X-treme.

5) Rattlesnakes...this is a tough one. There aren't a lot of rattlesnakes in Iowa, but I saw two dead on the road. This could very well be a 100% failure rate. Or maybe not.

6) I'm going to lump all birds into one category and call that category "birds". I saw a lot of dead birds, but I saw a lot of birds on the roadway. I also personally witnessed thousands (literally) of birds cross the road successfully. I think they have a high success rate. Probably over 99.9%. Part of the high success rate may be attributed to their ability to travel above the height of most traffic.

A final thing, since I want this blog to be educational as well as informative, did you all realize that the bird known as the Oriole is really called the "Baltimore Oriole"?? Me neither. I thought it was just the Oriole, and the baseball team from Baltimore is called the Baltimore Orioles. But I looked it up and the bird is called the Baltimore Oriole. I saw a dead one in Nebraska.


KIMMAY said...

Hey Jeff...the Orioles are DEAD everywhere and have been since Ripken left....thankfully I have one ALIVE team the METS.

jeff said...

Hey Kim...That's pretty funny. I was really excited and surprised to learn that the bird was called the Balitmore Oriole...for saome reason. I mean, the bear isn't called Memphis Grizzly, and the sheep isn't called the St Louis Ram. It just seems pretty cool. Or maybe I'm easily amused.