When it’s a House Finch. They like to nest under the eaves of buildings, thus the name, though they also will nest in trees, shrubs, and on the ground. The House Finch has not always been found in the eastern United States. In 1940, they were illegally captured in California and imported to New York by pet dealers. Fearing prosecution, the dealers released their “Hollywood Finches” on Long Island in 1940. Since then the finches have spread to all corners of the east and have even rejoined their relatives in the west. It seems even Hollywood was too small for this little finch.
Here At the Edge of the Wood no one is fooled by this fake but it is good reminder that squirrels are flesh and blood not mere cardboard cut-outs. Thoreau writes in Walden, “The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.” So slow down and drive the speed limit! You can smell the roses along the way and spare a furry friend his life.
The Edge of the Wood would like to salute Abby Putterill. Putterill, 16, adopted Hammy, a mopane squirrel, two months ago after the tiny animal was found injured and abandoned at Zimbabwe’s Bally Vaughan Wildlife Sanctuary, which is owned by Putterill’s parents. The little orphan is living in her hair. She just let Hammy stay in her ponytail after he climbed in and got comfy one day. Besides sleeping and showering, the pair are virtually inseparable, she said. Here’s to Abby! She already knows that home is where the heart is.
Cheek pouches are pockets on both sides of the mouth. They allow for rapid collection of food, but also serve as temporary storage and transport. Some hamster moms can hide their young in their cheek pouches to carry them away from danger. Other species are known to fill their pouches with air to make them more buoyant while swimming. Clearly everyone would be better with a cheek pouch, as this amazed song sparrow seems to express.
The tiny Song Sparrow on the right is a newcomer to The Edge of the Wood. She seems interested in the kerfuffle. This tiny sparrow is less than two ounces and may have come all the way from Mexico to join us. Her lovely song is a welcome addition to the morning chorus.
Scientists Milena Shattuck and Scott Williams studied tree dwellers versus ground dwellers and found that mammals who spend the majority of their time up a tree live longer than those who scurry along the ground. Trees can provide food, shelter, protection from predators….. and they’re a great place to raise the kids. Trees…you can never really have too many.