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.
Trish O’Kane thinks so. She runs a program at the University of Wisconsin that pairs university birding students with underprivileged middle school students in a unique environmental studies program. The kids explore nature and learn about environmental justice issues affecting their communities. They are shown that nature belongs to all of us and not just the few. So get outside and enjoy the bird songs…it might inspire you to do great things.
Not for our birds. Some berries are higher in fat and energy, making them a better meal. On average a cedar waxwing consumes 228 dogwood berries a day. That would equal 184 pints of blueberries for an average human. Want to know about berries for birds? Head over to Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Everything will become berry clear.
At The Edge of the Wood we always enjoying watching everyone prepare for winter. Here we see a Blue Jay and a squirrel vying the delicious sweet fruit of the kousa dogwood tree. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site the Blue Jay’s “…fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period.” No wonder the Blue Jays are always talking up a storm. They are probably exchanging gardening tips.
…exploring new things in our wood with the Blue Jays and this Carolina Wren. How about you?
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.
Next year, the International Space Station will be fitted with a dedicated wildlife receiver to monitor the epic journeys of tiny birds and insects. The data will be used to warn us of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It will also track animal-borne diseases like West Nile Virus. The ever shrinking size of transmitters is allowing scientists to put a device on the smallest of critters. Soon these new transmitters will weigh about 2 grams. Here we see two Blue Jays sharing information while a Northern Flicker eavesdrops. Soon we will be able to eavesdrop too.