links: robins can count; turkey talk; topiary master; wasted food

DID YOU KNOW that robins can count, or that food (not paper or plastic) is the biggest single source of fodder for U.S. landfills? Those stories, and more, are among the latest links.

don’t try to shortchange those robins

Robins can count, and they are also thieves—two qualities that are apparently related. “The New York Times” story that accompanied the video, above, derives from recent research in New Zealand on the birds’ math ability, published in the journal “Behavioural Processes.”

copyright Mass Audubon

mass audubon talks turkey

Speaking of birds, let’s talk turkey. An infographic by Massachusetts Audubon reveals the big bird’s language: what those fleshy lumps and bumps on the neck and head are called; that young males and females are Jakes and Jennies, respectively; other sounds besides “gobble” they utter, and more.

copyright Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

topiary genius pearl fryar

Anything is possible, if you have vision, and patience. Bishopville, South Carolina, topiary artist Pear Fryar has both. I was thrilled to see his garden featured recently by National Geographic in this video. And do visit Fryar’s website (or the garden, open 10-4 Tuesday through Saturday).

what a waste: u.s. food in the trash

A Harvest Public Media series about U.S. food waste, aired in part on NPR, reveals that food—not plastic or paper—is the nation’s largest single source of waste ending up in landfills. The EPA says 20 percent of municipal-landfill fodder is food, some 35 million-ish tons a year. Go to Harvest Public Media for the full “Tossed Out” series, including public-television specials such as the one above, or listen to some segments on NPR’s “The Salt” blog.


  1. Laurie says:

    Thanks for the great links. I recently enjoyed a film about Pearl Fryar via Netflix, but I didn’t realize he had a fb page or website. I saw another film on food waste, this one from the angle of dumpster diving. I look forward to watching Tossed Out.

  2. ljfq says:

    Check local public TV listings for the Nature episode “My Life As A Turkey”. They usually rerun it around Thanksgiving and it is a must see into these fascinating birds!

  3. Sharon B. says:

    I saw Pearl’s garden several years ago, on a quiet day with no one around. Pearl greeted me warmly and showed me around his incomparable garden. I urge everyone to go see it before a legend passes on.

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