Sunday, August 26, 2007

Worms and Birds

Some of our most interesting reader exchanges come from the Curmudgeon’s Observations, with one coming from Issue 2417 regarding the following:

“The early worm gets eaten by the bird, so sleep late.”

Most of the reader mail had to do with how the “early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” However, one exchange in particular showed our well versed our readers were in things other than sailing (and how little we know about birds and worms):

‘Butthead: I have to comment on your advice about staying in bed increasing the chances of survival for worms. The early bird gets the worms because there is less competition from other birds. Later there are more birds competing therefore the chance of the worm being eaten is proportionally higher. The worm should surface early and then burrow to increase the chance of survival. Please stick to journalism - do not become a strategist!

Curmudgeon: Along with more birds, there are now more worms later in the day, thus improving the worm's odds for survival. Assuming that the early worms out were eaten, then one might assume that the meal habits of the bird have concluded, and that they have moved on to gathering sticks and leaves for their nest. If the worm sleeps in, they have possibly survived this cycle.

‘Butthead: The worms come out early to catch the dew and the cooler temperatures.
The temperature rises as the day progresses. The worms start to dry out and they disappear under ground. That's why the birds have to get up early to find more food. So if you are a worm and you get up late you get eaten or dried out. Less chance of survival. Irrefutable I think!

Curmudgeon: You win!

‘Butthead: Good.

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