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.
This squirrel knows all the world’s a stage…and you should too.
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.
A 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.
Here at The Edge of The Wood we noticed that chipmunks can talk up a storm. They can sound alarm calls for as long as 30 minutes but what are they saying? Scientists noted three distinct alarm calls, one of which is called a “cluck.” It is a very specific warning of an aerial threat like a red-tailed hawk. So if you hear a cluck, don’t think chicken…a chipmunk might be warning you to duck!
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.
Here at the Edge of the Wood we are not sure if the residents organize into pee-wee soccer leagues when our backs are turned, but we do know they are extreme parkour practitioners. Squirrels have padded feet that cushion jumps from up to 20 feet and can run 20 mph. So next time you are choosing up sides for soccer, you might want to look up in a tree and ask a squirrel. Just make sure the ball isn’t made of peanuts.
Here At the Edge of the Wood no one is fooled by this fake but it is good reminder that squirrels are flesh and blood not mere cardboard cut-outs. Thoreau writes in Walden, “The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.” So slow down and drive the speed limit! You can smell the roses along the way and spare a furry friend his life.