Sun, Jul 16, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Crow dies at almost 60 years old 近六十歲烏鴉告別世間

Tata, possibly the world's oldest crow, at his home in New York.
塔塔在紐約的窩巢。塔塔可能是全世界最長壽的烏鴉。 (照片:美聯社)

PHOTO: AP

There's no way to prove Tata was the world's oldest crow when he died this month at age 59. But an expert on crows says it's not out of the question.

Tata's story began in 1947 when a thunderstorm blew him out of his nest in a cemetery in New York, a mishap that likely led to his long life. Injured and unable to fly, the bird was scooped up by somebody who worked at the cemetery and brought to the Manetta family, which had a reputation for taking care of animals.

The Manetta family took care of Tata for more than 50 years but gave the bird to Kristine Flones in 2001 because of their own health problems.

“He was never able to fly, so he became their family pet,” said Kristine Flones, who was Tata's last owner.

Flones said that Tata was still a wonderful pet when she got him, even though he was blind and 54 years old.

“It's an incredibly old bird,” said Kevin McGowan, a bird expert at Cornell University who has studied crows for more than 20 years. “They don't live that old in the wild.”

McGowan said the oldest living crow he has ever documented in the wild is 15 years old.

There is an unproven claim of a 29- or 30-year-old crow in the wild, but he knows of no older crows, tame or otherwise.

While claims about animals' ages are hard to prove, McGowan said, “This one sounded pretty reasonable to me.”

If a crow is not killed by other animals or disease, it could live to be as old as Tata, he said.

Flones said Tata was still active and alert in his later years. Each spring he called out from inside the house to crows outside, often loudly and beginning at 5am. (AP)

雖然沒有證據顯示本月去世的五十九歲烏鴉塔塔是全世界最長壽的烏鴉,不過一名研究烏鴉的專家表示這不是不可能。

Today's Words 今天單字

1. mishap n.

不幸事故 (bu2 xing4 shi4 gu4) ,災難 (zai1 nan4)

例: Alex had to go to the hospital after he had a mishap on his scooter.

(艾力克斯騎機車發生事故必須就醫。)

2. scoop v.t.

拾起 (shi2 qi3),挖 (wa1)

例: I scooped some snow from the ground to throw at Lilly.

(我從地上挖了些雪朝莉莉丟過去。)

3. document v.t.

記載 (ji4 zai3) ,記錄 (ji4 lu4)

例: Doctors have never documented a case of bird flu in Iceland.

(醫學記載上,冰島從未出現禽流感病例。)

4. tame adj.

經馴養的 (jing1 xun2 yang3 de5)

例: Some horses still live in the wild, but most are tame now.

(有些馬兒仍在野外生活,但現在的馬大多是馴養的。)


塔塔的故事始於一九四七年,當時在紐約某處墓園定居的牠,被一場大雷雨吹落窩巢,這場不幸的災難可能就是讓牠長壽的主因。墓園一名工人拾獲了受傷且無法飛翔的塔塔後,把牠交給以照顧動物享有盛名的瑪尼塔家族。

瑪尼塔家族照顧塔塔五十多年,但在二00一年因自身健康問題而把塔塔轉送給克麗絲汀?佛羅尼斯。

塔塔的最後一任飼主克麗絲汀?佛羅尼斯說:「牠再也沒辦法飛,所以成了他們的家庭寵物。」

佛羅尼斯表示,她得到塔塔時,牠雖然眼盲且已經五十四歲,但還是很棒的寵物。

研究烏鴉超過二十年的康乃爾大學鳥類專家凱文?麥高文說:「牠長壽到令人難以置信,野生烏鴉的壽命沒那麼長。」

麥高文表示,截至目前為止他記載過最老的野生烏鴉是十五歲。

一項未經證實的說法表示,有一隻二十九、三十歲左右的野生烏鴉,但無論是被人類馴養或自然野生,他都沒聽過年紀比這更大的烏鴉。

儘管有關動物年齡的傳聞難以證實,麥高文說:「對我而言,塔塔的事聽起來非常合理。」

他表示,一般烏鴉如果沒被其他動物殺死或染病死亡,也可能活得跟塔塔一樣久。

佛羅尼斯表示,塔塔晚年依舊活潑靈敏,每到春天,從清晨五點開始,牠都會從屋裡對著外面的烏鴉大聲喊叫。

(美聯社/翻譯:林倩如)

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