Monthly Archives: July 2015

It’s Official….Squirrels are Quick Learners

Day Lilly and SquirrelHere at The Edge of the Wood…. well, we didn’t do so well on our SAT’s. But squirrels know how to ace it. A new study has shown that grey squirrels are  quick learners capable of adapting tactics to improve efficiency and reap the best rewards. Pizza Ka Yee Chow of the University of Exeter, explains, “The results are quite remarkable – the squirrels made a decreased number of errors as they learned and progressively changed their tactic to increase efficiency and obtain the hidden rewards.” We would personal love to see study halls abounding with squirrel coaches…  I hear they don’t mind getting paid peanuts.

 

Who’s tougher…A Football Player Or A Woodpecker?

Rocks_0117aA woodpecker’s beak is tough…and innovative! The spongy bones and nail hard beaks of woodpeckers are inspiring a new generation of shock absorbers, potentially shielding airplane black boxes, football players and other valuable materials from the forces of impact. Woodpeckers hammer their beaks into trees at the astonishing rate of 18 to 22 times per second, subjecting their brains to deceleration forces of 1200g’s with each strike. This is more than 100 times the g-force required to give a football player a concussion, according to research conducted by the NFL.  Want to learn to be tough and beautiful? Talk to a woodpecker.

Help Wanted: Forest Crossing Guard

titmouse on driftwoodHere at The Edge of the Wood we remember our cheery school crossing guard with her blue uniform, white sash and bright red stop sign. Katie Sieving, a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida, has found that tufted titmice act like “crossing guards” and that other birds hold back from entering hazardous open areas in a forest if the titmice sound an alarm.  Here a little titmouse is sizing up our camera to see if it’s kosher. We hope she gives us the thumbs up so we can look forward to more of our bird friends stopping by.

Scientists Say, “Your Yard Matters.”

Woodpecker and GracklesHere at The Edge of the Wood we just tossed out our lawnmower and planted more bird- friendly-berry, bearing-bushes. We think of this as a win-win. Biologists Amy Belaire and Emily Minor found that landscape plantings in private yards play a much greater role in attracting a diversity of native birds in neighborhoods than do the surrounding parks, forest preserves, or streetside trees.  Areas with bird-friendly yards had nearly twice as many species than neighborhoods whose private yards were less attractive to birds. So help a bird and help yourself. Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth less than two in the bush.

Fill Out Your Real Estate Portfolio with….Birds?

Dove, Grackles, DriftwoodA recent study looked at the economic value city dwellers place on having birds in their communities. Researches asked how much residents  would spend to conserve common  bird species and what they’d spend, if anything, on bird food. In Seattle, the value of enjoying common birds is about $120 million in bird seed, housing and plantings. “We know that having a livable, green community that attracts birds also increases the value of homes in that area.” said John Marzluff, a University of Washington professor of environmental and forest sciences and the paper’s co-author. “This paper shows there’s an economic service birds are providing.”  Home improvement doesn’t always have to involve a hammer and a saw.