The European Starling were first brought to America during the spring of 1890 and 1891 in New York City. They’ve garnered a bad reputation as an invasive, non-native species but their intelligence and mimicry abilities, are astounding. This video shows tool using capabilities also. What to do about non-native species? We at the edge of the wood think America is a nation of immigrants where the brightest and the hardest working come to make their fortune. Starlings have clearly used our fine public education system to better themselves. They epitomize the American dream.
Here at the edge of the wood we realize not everyone gets to spend quality time in the forest and learn who is who. In New York City a family found what they presumed was a puppy in a gutter on Houston Street. After raising it for a month, they realized it was a squirrel. Luckily for the infant, puppy milk formula is exactly what baby squirrels need and this little squirrel thrived and found her way to a wildlife rehabilitator. A “rehabber” is a licensed do-gooder who can legally take in an array of orphaned, sick, or injured creatures and care for them until they can be released. They are part vet tech, animal psychologist and tournament winning cheerleader. Have a question about a wild creature? Call a rehabber. There really is no need to get your puppies mixed up with your squirrels.
Well, we think so, but is there any proof? Scientific American reports that researchers are studying the arctic ground squirrel’s brain because of its amazing hibernation ability. When ground squirrels hibernate their neurons shrink and many connections between neurons shrivel. But their brains periodically compensate for this loss with massive growth spurts, multiplying neural links beyond what existed before hibernation. Learning how the ground squirrel’s brain recuperates suggests new ways to reverse or prevent cellular damage in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. We applaud these ground breaking hibernating squirrels, we just don’t think they can hear us.
Here at the edge of the wood we were amazed by a new finding that birds respond emotionally to song. “The same regions (of the brain) that respond to music in humans, responded to song in our sparrows,” said Donna Maney, a neuroscientist at Emory University and one of the authors of the new report. With this in mind we are determined to give our squirrels every opportunity. Hopefully they will show talent with this violin because really do we need another Ted Nugent?