Here at The Edge of the Wood we want to send a special New Year’s wish to FOTW (friend of the woods) Matilda and we wish everyone a joyous 2016. In the words of the luminous Albert Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” So give yourself a treat…. go to a park, walk around for a bit or sit under a tree for as long as you like. Just like Einstein, you never know what you’ll discover.
While squirrels are constantly making the news, here at The Edge of the Wood we wanted to give our actors a little star treatment. Enjoy and learn from the masters.
Here 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.
Professor Kelly Drew of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks has discovered that arctic squirrels lose synapses in their brains when they hibernate. What is remarkable is that when they wake up, the synapses grow back. “Synapses sprout when the animals re-warm. Indeed animals learn better after they come out of hibernation,” she states. Understanding how the squirrels do this could be the watershed moment for Alzheimer’s patients. We at The Edge of the Wood wish Dr. Drew much luck with her ground squirrel…oops we mean ground breaking discoveries.
To become a city squirrel of course. “As we rapidly increase the spread of urbanisation around the world, urban areas may end up being important places for some wildlife, so it would be good to know what they like about those areas, what allows them to do well.” says Dr Bill Bateman, “We need to know how we can help their continued success, and perhaps encourage other animals to share our urban spaces.” It seems squirrels are brilliant at living in cities as long as they can find a wide varied of foods to eat, and green spaces to chill in. Here At The Edge of The Wood we wish our city cousins the best…but the porch light will always be on.
No, not really. Though the Carolina Wren is native to the southeastern United States, it has been slowly expanding northward since the mid-1900s. This has been made possible by the ever warmer winters. Still, they have a tough time up north so if you see them around a little extra seed scattered on the ground would be a great help.
At the edge of the wood we always appreciate a good hair day. But the clever Blue Jays actually communicate mood with the crest feathers on their heads. When the crest is erected, making a prominent peak, the bird is excited, surprised, or aggressive. If the jay is frightened, the crest bristled out in all directions. If the bird is relaxed, the crest lays flat on the head. Here we have a relaxed Jay basking in the glow of this squirrel’s admiring gaze. Yes, we wish we could fly like that too.
At the edge of the wood sometimes the feathers fly and not while flying. Here we have a Catbird and a Cardinal having a disagreement. During mating and nesting season Cardinals are obsessed with defending their territory against any intruders. Birds may spend hours fighting these intruders without giving up. Impressive for such a little bright package!
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?