We At The Edge of The Wood think they look chic but others associate the crow’s black feathers with death. Crows are actually very social, caring creatures and among the smartest animals on the planet. We may never know why crows evolved their dark plumage. Fashion has always been a mystery to us.
Next year, the International Space Station will be fitted with a dedicated wildlife receiver to monitor the epic journeys of tiny birds and insects. The data will be used to warn us of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It will also track animal-borne diseases like West Nile Virus. The ever shrinking size of transmitters is allowing scientists to put a device on the smallest of critters. Soon these new transmitters will weigh about 2 grams. Here we see two Blue Jays sharing information while a Northern Flicker eavesdrops. Soon we will be able to eavesdrop too.
Our advice? Don’t get your meaty fingers between a squirrel and a tempting nut. All reports of squirrel bites in the United States have been variations on this scenario. So if you want to share, please do, but leave that morsel on the park bench next to you and please, no fingernails painted like peanuts.
An Eagle uses feathers for soaring flight… a bufflehead duck for warmth and some ‘not so soaring’ flight. Down feathers keep babies protected while semi plumes, found between other feathers, provide an additional layer of warmth and help maintain the smooth, streamlined shape of the bird. Want to know more about feathers? Fly over to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where no one’s feathers ever get ruffled.
Squirrels are famous for acrobatic feats of daring in their quest to find food and evade predators. Their claws grip the bark as they race through trees at speeds reaching 10 to 15 mph. These claws are also very useful when someone hasn’t said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ in front of a fresh batch of peanuts. Remember, good manners will get you far.
Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, SILENT SPRING, ignited the environmental movement in the United States. In developing her theories, she garnered information from citizen scientists who, in their own backyards, had discovered squirrels and birds poisoned by pesticides. By showing concern for the smallest inhabitants of their communities, 1960’s citizen scientists changed the world. Here at the Edge of the Wood we applaud environmental activists, in all shapes and sizes.
Not necessarily according to this Stanford University paper. Multi-species flocking, especially in the winter, makes for more eyes and ears to detect food and predators. It has been shown that Chickadees and Titmice are used as sentinels by Downy Woodpeckers. Birds have the ability to pool their resources and use each other’s strengths to help everyone get through the winter. Sounds like a good plan to us.