Here at the edge of the wood we like a nice cool drink and some AC at the height of the summer, but what about everyone else? Squirrels use their tails for thermoregulation. In the heat squirrels pump cooled blood from the tail directly back into the torso to lower its internal temperature. Pretty amazing. We wish our AC unit could do that.
Sadly no, these wild turkey babies, called poults, have no use for the Encyclopedia Britannica but they do imprint on the first thing they see as newborns. We salute naturalist Joe Hutto who became a mom to an orphaned brood of eggs. His fascinating story is here. Who knew bugs could be so nutritious?
Here at the edge of the wood we have never been good at math. No problem because it turns out our animal friends excel beyond our wildest dreams. Pigeons have shown that not only can they count but they can learn abstract rules about numbers, an ability that had been demonstrated only in primates. But all sorts of animals, including bees, can count. Recent studies have uncovered counting skills in different species, suggesting that mathematical abilities could be more fundamental in biology than previously thought. Here we have a fine turkey showing her chicks how to work it out at the blackboard. We should all be so lucky!
Well, it seems all the time. Paleontologists are now saying that modern birds are actually living dinosaurs. Then came news from China that some dinosaurs seemed to be marvelous four-winged creatures, perhaps on standby at some runway for takeoff in flight as early birds. Other recently excavated primitive bird species had also adopted the four-wing body plan before they ditched the hind-limb feathers and evolved into the, presumably, more efficient feathered forelimb wings. Here are a cardinal, blue jay, grackle, red-bellied woodpecker and catbird discussing their costumes for the next Jurasic Park movie. Maybe they don’t need costumes at all.