Here at The Edge of the Wood we are not known for our spelling, but in this case we got it right. Architect and birder Bruce Fowle just completed a renovation of the massive Javits Convention Center in New York City. His innovative work includes patterned windows that have lowered bird collisions by 90% and a green roof that has attracted 11 bird species including herring gulls who have begun to nest there. Ultrasonic microphones have detected five bat species. Now kestrel nest boxes are going up. Is the wave of the future in buildings? Yes, and the future is now.
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.
It could be. Biologist Con Slobodchikoff endeavored to understand what prairie dogs say to one another and discovered just how eloquent they can be. “They’re able to describe the color of clothes the humans are wearing, they’re able to describe the size and shape of humans, even, amazingly, whether a human once appeared with a gun,” Slobodchikoff said. “When people realize that prairie dogs and other animals as well can talk … suddenly they see these animals with a new perspective,” he said. “They’re actually thinking, breathing things not that much different from us.” Just don’t let them help you with your English homework.
… and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.”― Maya Angelou
Here At the Edge of the Wood we wonder how our feathered friends are doing this rough winter. What do they need to stay alive? It’s estimated that one chickadee needs 65,000 joules of food energy to survive a winter night. One black oil sunflower seed provides 1000 joules. So stock up your feeders with these high energy snacks. The cardinals will be grateful, 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!
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.
Here at the edge of the wood we believe that education in music and the arts is essential. Some students really do take our breath away. In a study that compared the results of his and her music lessons, scientist Ayako Yamaguchi discovered that female cardinals learn nearly as many songs as males but in only one-third the time. Both males and females started learning songs about 3 weeks after hatching. The females’ song learning period lasted about 49 days and the males’ period extended to more than 187 days but the females generally had picked up nine songs during that period and the males five. Though the boys get the fancy red feathers, the girls get all the sweet songs. What charming well-rounded couples they make.
Here at the edge of the wood we feel animals don’t really need organized sports, the forest is full of spontaneous games. However, a squirrel did once help a “cardinal” in a decisive game of baseball. In 2011 a squirrel scampered across the plate during Game 4 of the division playoff series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals, who were facing elimination at home, won the game and adopted the “rally squirrel” as an unofficial mascot and went on to win the World Series. They paid tribute to their animal friend on their World Series ring, one side includes a tiny squirrel in mid-flight, leaping over a home plate.