Saturday, May 23, 2015

Joy for Ireland: the rainbow connection

Joy: Ireland is on the verge of a historic change

Rainbows have been photographed over Dublin as Ireland becomes the first country to permit gay marriage via a popular vote.

Dozens of pictures of the rainbows were posted online as the country chose to permit sex marriage through a referendum.

One Twitter user said the beautiful rainbows were a sign that gay marriage got Jesus's vote.

With 39 constituencies declared, the Yes vote is 62.3% and No 37.7%.

The number of Yes votes is 1,128,209, with 682,932 votes for No.

There are three constituencies still to declare - Cork North West, Cork South West and Cork East.

Key campaign groups fighting the reform conceded defeat before any formal declarations.

The referendum now paves the way for the necessary laws to be passed by the summer and potentially opens the door for the first gay marriage ceremonies to be held by the end of the year.

Early on, the reform was most popular in Dublin South West with a near 71% backing.

But in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's own back yard, Co Mayo, the contest was much tighter with only 52% of voters in favour.

It is only 22 years since Ireland decriminalised homosexuality.

Voters were asked one simple, specific question on whether to amend Article 41 of the 1937 Constitution by adding a new clause to a section titled The Family.

It asked them to support or reject a change to the 78-year-old document which reads: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

It does not suggest any change to the definition of the family or remove any outdated references in the section, including those that state a woman's place is at home.

If passed, it would be the 34th amendment to the constitution but, regardless of the result, the campaign will rank with other hotly contested issues such as divorce and abortion.

(It's written in the sky, folks. Change is coming. Get with it, or end up suffocating and choking on your poisonous old medieval Catholic dogma. Love walked in. . .and it changed everything.)

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Gangsta geese in the 'hood

Canada geese form ‘gang broods’ in Burnaby

Two adult birds with 33 goslings grab attention at Burnaby Lake


A family of Canada Geese with 33 goslings at Burnaby Lake May 21 2015.

METRO VANCOUVER -- A new gang has claimed Burnaby Lake as its ‘hood.

Although a pair of Canada geese normally give birth to five or six young, Burnaby streamkeeper John Preissl documented two adults with no fewer than 33 goslings in tow. “As I walked down the trail near Piper Spit Pier, I noticed the large brood ... following the pair,” he explained Friday. “About 45 minutes later they swam right by me and across the lake to spend the night. It was good to see most of the rowers stopped for the family.”

The explanation is that Canada geese often form “gang broods” — defined as two or more broods amalgamated into a single cohesive unit and shepherded by four or more parents — according a 2009 study in the journal, Condor.

Gang brooding is more typical among older, experienced geese, and among geese that change mates from the previous year, the study found.

Gang broods, or crèches, can reportedly range to 100 goslings following just a few adults and are more common in areas of high nest density, in urban and suburban areas.

Rob Butler, a retired bird scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service, said he spotted the same gang brood at Burnaby Lake. While he’s heard and read about such large numbers, this is the first time he’s actually seen it. “I said, ‘Holy smokes, look at that pair, they have a lot of young.’ ”

Butler said gang broods may be a case of safety in numbers — more eyes to watch for predators such as bald eagles, and reduced odds of being targeted should they attack.

“It’s mutual protection, lots of eyes and adults around,” he said.

It’s not clear why Preissl photographed just one pair of adults with the 33 goslings, but it’s possible the other parents are nearby, are dead, or are younger adults with less experience at raising young. “Anything’s possible,” Butler said. “At Burnaby Lake, they all get together to mooch food off people. They get all these broods together. It’s pretty easy to band together into one big group.”

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

PLEASE NOTE: there's a really cool short video with this that I couldn't embed. Here's a link to the whole story.

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Geese What? Goslings Galore!

Three broods of goslings at Sasamat Lake. Taken last year. This was all I could find in video to illustrate the "Canada geese form 'gang broods'" story from today's Vancouver Sun. It's our own shaky home video. I believe we counted eighteen geese altogether, but the spectacular mega-brood in Burnaby Lake totalled 33 goslings swimming in one long line. We watch wildlife in Como, Lafarge and Burnaby lakes all the time, but we've never seen anything like this!