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PSA : Making roadkill.

  1. Jun 13, 2005 #1
    Many motorists have experienced birds fluttering in front of their car, often flying in the same direction, but they get away at the last minute. Not always... A bird is flying in front of my car, with another bird, either fighting or playing, but the bird was too distracted I guess and flew out in front of the car while it was traveling 45 m.p.h. like 5 feet in front of it, or too late for a reaction. I did a U'turn and scanned the roadway meticulously, believing that if I couldn't find a bird corpse then there was no need for guilt. There near the scene was one dead bird.. (gruesome). In bird's memory I'm issuing a warning: roadkill doesn't always know how to make itself not be roadkill, despite God and/or science/evolution's best intent.. so if you can help be prepared to adjust driving to compensate (from a biological standpoint cars are new so the species wouldn't "adapt" quite this soon for moving metal masses through their habitat) you should do them a favor (unless you can't safely do so without being a risk to yourself or other motorists.)

    If you like hunting, then just apply the oppositte. At night try shining your brights at the last minute to captivate the racoon into a trance and swerve last minute to make your meal.

    I also learned a strategy from someone in Kentucky. Drive down a strip of highway and draw circles around all roadkill you see. Come back the next day to the same stretch of highway. Anything without a circle is good and fresh, Yum!
     
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  3. Jun 13, 2005 #2

    Evo

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    I am a very cautious driver and have come very close to hitting an animal or bird, but always managed to avoid it just in time. I know people that see birds and animals entering the street and don't slow down or take evasive action. :devil: That's just wrong. You're driving thousands of pounds of steel, what chance does this poor little animal have if you are brain dead?

    The only time I ran over an animal was at a red light. A pigeon was walking under my car and I didn't know. :cry: I was devastated.

    Sounds like you really cared False Prophet, sometimes there is just nothing you can do.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2005 #3
    I was like you, I made it a point not to make roadkill (until now I couldn't help it.. : (

    My streak is over.

    Of course I will never give up my campaign to not make future road kill.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2005 #4

    JamesU

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    *picks up roadkill*
    *cooks it over fire*
     
  6. Jun 14, 2005 #5

    Moonbear

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    The worst I've heard was when one of my friends hit an opposum in the road at night...just didn't have time to react when he saw it (or was still too inexperienced to react properly...we were still in high school when it happened). But it didn't kill it. He was torn between leaving it suffering or having to run it over again, on purpose, to finish it off. He chose to run it over a second time, and was just traumatized over it. What's worse was when he got home and told his mother, she flipped out and told him how awful he was to have purposely run it over the second time, so he was doubly traumatized thinking he made the wrong choice, maybe he should have called someone to give a 'possum medical care or something. He told us about it at school the next day and unlike his mother, we thought he made the right, if difficult choice. Even if he called someone, as if anyone would come out for a run-over 'possum, it would have just meant the animal was sitting there suffering until someone else put it down.

    I've hit a bird and a squirrel. The bird actually swooped down from above, right smack into the center of the windshield. And with the squirrel, I was towing a trailer with goats in it, so couldn't quickly stop or swerve, when one of the many suicidal squirrels ran out in front of it (they seemed to just wait by the lane to the farm every morning for me to drive in and would dive in front of the car left and right...I was sure they were suicidal...considering how many tried running in front of me, it's amazing I only hit one). Come to think of it, that kamikaze bird might have been suicidal too. I've never seen a bird swoop down toward a car like that except that one time. Usually they're just flying across the road, or sitting in the road eating something and come close to not getting out of the way in time, but swooping into the car from above was weird.
     
  7. Jun 14, 2005 #6

    Danger

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    If it was a raptor, it might very well have been aiming to scoop one of the squirrels for lunch and misjudged the car's interception time. My buddy Bruce (the same one with the deer, which I might move over to this thread) and his wife perplexed the hell out of a wildlife officer to report having hit a hawk (mandatory to do so), and then dragging him out of his office to remove it from the grill of their car. It was still alive and extemely pissed off. No way were they about to touch it, even with leather gloves.
     
  8. Jun 14, 2005 #7
    I always try to avoid hitting animals. I once had a rabbit dash into the road on me and because it was so close I couldn't do anything about it. It actually smacked into the side of the wheel of the car. I felt so bad about it that the girl in the car with me was laughing at me.
    I also once almost hit a dear while getting on the freeway. It freaked me out because I have never even seen a dear around here before. This is southern california for kreezy's sake!
     
  9. Jun 14, 2005 #8

    Danger

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    Location does make a difference, alright. The first thing that I ever do with a new car is install deer whistles and illegal headlights. A lot of people here use the whistles. For anyone who isn't familiar with them, they're a 2-piece set that go on opposite sides of the car but within line-of-sight of each other. Above about 30 kph airspeed, each produces a specific ultrasonic tone. The 2 tones combined are audible to almost all wild animals. Deer and whatnot have a mile or so of warning distance that something unfamiliar is approaching, so they move away instead of panicking when you get there and running out in front of you. My headlights are adjusted so as not to bother other drivers, but show the ditches for a mile or so.
     
  10. Jun 14, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    No, it was just a rather ordinary bird...a starling or blackbird...something of that general size and color. But that reminds me of another story. My aunt, who always seems to have odd things happen to her, was driving down the Parkway one summer, headed toward the shore, and this hawk came flying toward the car carrying a rabbit. The hawk couldn't fly high enough out of the way to avoid being hit while carrying the rabbit and dropped the rabbit...right into their open car window. My cousin, who is rather, uh, fussy about her appearances, wound up with rabbit guts all over her. :yuck: It was a bizarre story to begin with, but because it was that particular cousin who got splattered with guts, it ended up being hilariously funny, especially when my aunt described my cousin's expression as she realized what had just happened. :biggrin:
     
  11. Jun 14, 2005 #10

    Danger

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    :rofl: :rofl: Why is there never a camera handy when you really need one?
     
  12. Jun 14, 2005 #11

    Moonbear

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    Usually the problem with deer is they are either already running toward the road for some other reason...such as seeking a mate on the other side, or being startled out of the woods...or they are in the middle of the road already and panic in the headlights (when startled, they'll squat to pee over scent glands on their hind legs as a scent warning to other deer rather than run immediately). The best thing you can do is keep alert for any movement in your peripheral vision to alert you there's an animal moving in the dark. Somehow, I've always picked up on the movement and started slowing down before I could even determine it was a deer on the side of the road. Though, once there was a whole herd of deer just standing in the middle of the road appearing completely unconcerned that my car was approaching. I had to get pretty close before they decided to move away. Someone must have been feeding them to make them that tame.
     
  13. Jun 14, 2005 #12

    Moonbear

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    My aunt ALWAYS has a camera with her, but I don't think my cousin let her take any pictures. Knowing my aunt, she would have taken pictures otherwise. :rofl:
     
  14. Jun 14, 2005 #13

    Danger

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    I think that your circumstances must be considerably different than they are here. For one thing, our deer don't act quite like that. They can be just casually walking along until a car gets close, then go nuts and run out in front of it. The peripheral vision thing is okay in daylight, in open terrain, but doesn't work in forest areas or at night. Generally, around here, if you can see it moving peripherally you're already past it. We go by the eyes at night; they show for over a hundred metres if you know what you're looking for. That applies to cougars, bear, etc. as well. Cows and horses don't seem to have reflective eyes, but that's probably because they aren't nocturnal.
     
  15. Jun 14, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

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    Actually, cows and horses do have those reflective eyes as well. If you stare at the side of the road, you won't notice subtle motion at night, but if you let your peripheral vision scan the road side, you'll better pick up that motion. The only reason a deer should run toward a car if it wasn't running before it approached is if there's something on the other side that's preventing it from escaping in that direction. It would be pretty atypical behavior of a deer to run toward something threatening unless they are boxed in, then they'll try to jump over you (and miss getting over completely in the case of a moving car). I've had that fun experience of trying to herd deer into a building and as soon as they got to the door, they came running back and jumped right over the people herding them in (not exactly like sheep that will stand with their head in the corner of a fence trying to push the fence out of the way if you keep coming toward them and they can't find another way out). It was even less fun to have to enter the chute with them to sort them through one-by-one...especially when I was doing it because the other person who usually did that job had bruised ribs from one of them kicking a door into her before she got it closed all the way...could have been worse, the deer could have gotten a direct kick in). If they come running out of a forest, there's not much you can do in terms of seeing them before they're bounding in front of you, but usually they're grazing in the grass right by the edge of the trees.
     
  16. Jun 14, 2005 #15

    Danger

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    Yeah. What I meant about them not being nocturnal is that I've never seen one near a road at night, so don't know how well they show up.

    That's because peripheral vision consists entirely of high-density rods and no cones, so the light sensitivity is higher. (That's why I look directly at oncoming bright headlights instead of off to the side; it hurts less.) It still doesn't do much good at 100+ kph. Also, a lot of the time they're not moving until they decide to bolt so watching for motion doesn't always reveal them.

    Misunderstanding. I didn't mean that they run toward the car, but often they're on the opposite side of the road to their resting area, and will try to return to it before the car gets there. They don't really have any concept of something moving that fast, so they think that they have lots of time.

    Another difference of geography, perhaps. Here, a lot of the forest areas extend right to the edges of the ditches, and the ditches themselves aren't often suitable for grazing. In some areas, the approach to the road is very steep as well.
     
  17. Jun 14, 2005 #16

    Chi Meson

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    I thought that was a bicyclist. :biggrin:
     
  18. Jun 14, 2005 #17

    Astronuc

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    During my first year in university, I wrecked a car after swerving to avoid a cat that ran in front my car at night.

    Since then I have had birds fly into the windshield or in front of my car. The worst was a wild turkey who had crossed the road, but then turned and ran back in front of me. I could not stop fast enough, consider other cars were right behind me.

    I have had squirrels and other small animals run in front of the car so close that I only have time to blink.

    One night I was traveling down a country road and a cat jumped from the side of the road and hit my car broadside. I didn't see it until it hit my car.
     
  19. Jun 14, 2005 #18

    brewnog

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    I've killed a rabbit, a few squirrels, half a dozen pigeons and a small fox. Well, I didn't quite kill the rabbit; I clipped it and then saw it in my rear-view mirror twitching on the road, it was horrible. I was going to go back and put it out of its misery, but the car behind did it for me.

    There's just so much stupid wildlife around here, and I do a lot of driving late at night when I often come across what seems like a big rodent party in the road. I usually manage to avoid them, but the less-intelligent ones often just run in front of a wheel at the last moment. Pigeons are even worse, they'll happily sit, safely on the verge until you're about 3 metres away, and then they just fly out into your path.

    I've heard of quite a few bad car-on-car accidents locally caused by drivers swerving to miss a cat, and not realising there's another car coming towards them. You fail your driving test here if you emergency stop for anything smaller than a dog if there's something behind you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2005
  20. Jun 14, 2005 #19
    oh ick..I once hit a skunk! HIs death was with me for several weeks.
     
  21. Jun 14, 2005 #20

    DocToxyn

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    My wife was driving once when a bird flew right across the top of the windshield. I heard it contact, but it wasn't very loud and I saw it fly off, so I eased her worries and said it was fine. Later that day we were home washing the car and I looked and saw the birds foot had been sheared off and was stuck to the roof about midway across the car. I grimaced and looked to see if my wife had noticed it, she hadn't, but she noticed my expression. "Ohh, its nothing dear.." as I frantically scrubbed off the remains. Really horrible and sad. :yuck: :frown:
     
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