Good News Day 29: Meet the Bird Brainiacs: American Crow


Editor’s Note: Members of the crow family, known as the corvids, are among the smartest birds in the world. Some are capable of using tools, playing tricks, teaching each other new things, even holding “funerals.” And yet there’s still much we don’t know about these fascinating, sometimes confounding creatures. What’s going on inside the mind of a corvid? Three leading scientists are finding answers.

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PET scan of a crow’s brain: Robert Miyaoka/Dept. of Radiology/University of Washington

The crows in your neighborhood know your block better than you do. They know the garbage truck routes. They know which kids drop animal crackers and which ones throw rocks. They know the pet dogs, and they might even play with the friendly ones. If you feed them, they probably not only recognize you but your car as well, and they might just leave you trinkets in return. These birds live their lives intertwined with ours, carefully observing us even as most of us barely take note of them…

Read more here: https://www.audubon.org/magazine/march-april-2016/meet-bird-brainiacs-american-crow

 

To Bee or Not To Bee


Bee on Dandelion

It’s spring in Maine, finally! The insect life is waking up, and I’ve had a few encounters with bees recently. I try to pay attention, and even follow my own advice when I have more significant or unusual animal encounters. If an animal makes significant repeated appearances, or if you find the appearance particularly meaningful, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something you should pay attention to.

In this case, the bee encounters certainly stood out. There was one or two bees who chose to follow me for a walk, another one very determined to get into my car, and a fourth one was a bumblebee just meandering through the produce section in the grocery store. So, should bees of any variety make their way into your life, it might be time to look into what the buzz is all about (just one pun, I promise!).

Bees have long been a powerful symbol in many cultures, representing the sun, fertility, royalty, gods and goddesses. Their seemingly improbable ability to fly can represent achieving the impossible. They gather pollen and contribute to the fertility of countless plants, creating food for themselves and ultimately the world. In their creation of honey, they transform sunlight into liquid energy.

If the bee is buzzing into your life, you may need to find faith in your ability to to take flight and achieve the impossible. Maybe you need to become more aware of what information you gather, distribute, or ingest. Make sure you’re taking the good parts of life and leaving the destructive bits behind. Share only the positive, energy giving honey.

Are you being too much of a worker bee and attempting to do too many things? Do you need to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors? Maybe you’re working so hard that you’ve forgotten that you even once enjoyed what you’re doing. Wallowing in the labors of collecting your pollen and forgetting to enjoy the beautiful sunshine that has made it all possible.

A visit from bee may be reminding you to stop and smell the flowers, value your own productivity, creativity, and industriousness. Take time out to enjoy the sun and the honey. Trust in your ability to get done what you need to without working yourself into a frenzy. And maybe, just bee.

When the Storms of Life Rage On, Don’t Get Too Prickly


I’ve had people tell me that hikes are boring. They clearly haven’t gone for a hike with me! I think that people kind of forget that there’s more to hiking that just plodding along the trail. Sometimes you never know what’s just around the corner, or hidden in the brush alongside the trail.

StormyLast week on a hike, I was racing a pretty ominous looking thunderstorm. Let’s just say it turned into more of a jog than a hike, as I turned around to beat feet the 1.6 miles back to the car. I decided I had a better chance of not getting struck by lightning if I turned around rather than trying to continue another two plus miles to finish the loop.

Along the trail, I was startled by something ambling along the path. A chubby little porcupine! He got into the underbrush and it was difficult to photograph him, so I chalked it up to a fun memory. About five minute later, I see another chubby little shape ambling down the trail in front of me. Another porcupine! This one didn’t seem to care that I was hiking along behind him, but it was just far enough ahead that I had a hard time capturing a good photo. I did however start to think about the frequent appearance of this prickly little critter.

Porcupines amble along through life, and with the exception of a few predators – primarily fishers and mountain lions – have earned the respect of the animal kingdom. They are generally peaceful, they don’t “throw” their quills, and their major defense actually requires that an attacker get close enough to truly harm them before it does it’s job.

PorcupineCabelasSpringfield0511In animal wisdom, Porcupine often represents a reminder not to spend too much time caught up in the seriousness and gravity of life. Honor your playful spirit, and take time to wander through nature, or simply through your imagination, and hunt for treasures.

Don’t let negative old barbs or pain from the past haunt you and drain the happiness from your present. Don’t allow yourself to become so prickly that people are afraid to come near you. Trust that when you really need it, your defenses will help protect you.

Go forth and shed your quills.

Love & Laughter,

Tricia