Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bird Watching

TigerBlog remembers reading somewhere that there are something like 100 billion birds on Earth, which means there are way more birds than people (seven billion or so).

Of the seven billion people, about a little more than 300,000,000 live in the United States.

Of the 100 billion birds, about six billion live in this country.

In other words, there are about 16 birds out there for every person in the United States.

Ever see the Hitchcock movie "The Birds?" It's a bit freaky, the way the birds seem to band together to attack humans, even as science suggests that is an impossibility.

As an aside, TB's favorite Hitchcock movie is "North by Northwest," though he's never seen a Hitchcock movie he didn't like.

At the end of "The Birds," the situation is very unresolved. Yes, the birds have done some serious damage, but have they really united, or is it all just coincidence that breeds paranoia?

There was one bird this morning - a red-tailed hawk - who sat perched above the dinky, looking down on the train and then flying away as it passed by.

TB would have assumed that the noise of the train would have frightened the bird away. Instead, the bird was mesmerized by the train, and it was only after the train left that the bird went on with its day.

Is this how it starts? Should TB worry about some kind of unifying bird situation that is it its infancy?

Nah, TB isn't too concerned that the 16 birds out there with his name on them are going to turn violent. Maybe messy, but not violent.

Still, if the birds are morphing into a higher form of intelligence - and if the red-tailed hawk wants to linger on campus for a few days - then he (or she) can see something that hasn't been seen at Princeton since, well, a long time ago.

The Princeton men's basketball team is at home this weekend, playing Friday night against Dartmouth and Saturday against Harvard.

The last time the Tigers were home? January 78, against the College of New Jersey.

The last time the Tigers were home against a Division I team? Not in January. Not in December, even. Nope, you have to go all the way back to Nov. 30, when the Tigers hosted Lafayette.

Princeton is now home for seven of its final nine games, but all of the travel - especially with five straight league games away from home - have taken a toll (and a lot of tolls), as the Tigers are 2-3 in the league.

Yes, Princeton dug an early hole with its loss at Cornell in the league opener, but coming out of exams at Penn Monday and then at Brown/Yale last Friday/Saturday was a bit much. In fact, it was fairly unfair.

The return of the men's basketball team to its home court is not the only big story for this coming weekend.

In fact, Princeton will have home events in men's squash, women's squash, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, wrestling, women's water polo, women's hockey and women's tennis. Between all those teams, there will be a total of 18 home events between Friday and Sunday.

And, of course, except for men's basketball, admission to all is free.

Between now and Sunday, the first four Ivy League champions of the winter will be crowned.

The Ivy League fencing championships (a two-day round-robin event being held at Yale) are Saturday and Sunday. Princeton is the defending champion and favorite on the women's side; the men's side is wide-open, with Princeton in the mix.

The men's and women's squash regular seasons end this weekend as well.

On the women's side, Harvard and Yale will play for the championship.

On the men's side, Princeton has already defeated Harvard and Yale and stands at 5-0 before hosting Cornell Friday and Columbia Saturday. One win means at least a share of the title, while two guarantees an outright title. Cornell, a much-improved team, is the clear No. 4 team in the league and will be a legitimate challenge.

And of course, lacrosse season is out there, just two weeks away for Princeton's men and women - and actually underway as of last weekend.

But hey, that's another story for another day.

For this weekend, there'll be plenty of in-season sports to watch around here.

And, presumably, plenty of birds, if that's preferable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Scientific explanation for violent bird behavior. Be afraid.