Are Birds Ok in the Winter?

Snow logHere At the Edge of the Wood we wonder how our feathered friends are doing  this rough winter. What do they need to stay alive? It’s estimated that one chickadee needs 65,000 joules of food energy to survive a winter night. One black oil sunflower seed provides 1000 joules. So stock up your feeders with these high energy snacks. The cardinals will be grateful, too.

What makes a Duck a Duck?


In the words of Douglas Adams If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.  At the Edge of the Wood we know one when we see one but with over 140 species worldwide  exhibiting a huge variety of plumage and characteristics, it’s hard for us to put our finger on a duck.  Pop over here to begin to explore our duck friends. But make it soon before they fly off in spring!

Can A Bird Save Your Life?

Blue Jays and Northern FlickerNext 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.

Do Squirrels Bite?

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.

What Are Feathers For?

Black-Capped Chickadee spreads her wings 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.