Weird Squirrel Behavior: A Reference Question

From the Ask a Librarian Reference Desk:

“The squirrels in my neighborhood are clipping little twigs off of ornamental trees and throwing them on the ground. So many twigs everywhere! Why are they doing this?”

Dear Patron,

Thank you for contacting The Seattle Public Library for assistance unraveling your squirrel-related mystery! Experts in squirrel behavior, such as the folks who work for University Extension programs and wildlife organizations, are not entirely sure why squirrels do this. They have two main theories:

  1. They’re eating parts of the tree — The cambium layer beneath the bark of trees is rich in minerals and other nutrients, which can be in short supply during winter. Squirrels may be trimming branches and peeling bark to gain access to this food supply. (See the University Extension Ask an Expert database and Michigan State University Extension.)
  2. They’re cutting clippings for nesting material – Some Squirrels build nests, called “dreys,” in tree branches using a combination of leaves, twigs, bark and other vegetation. Some even build two or three nests at one time, to create multiple avenues of shelter and escape.  It could be that your squirrels have a construction project and are throwing rejected building materials on the ground below. (West Virginia Wildlife Magazine speaks to this.)

Continue reading “Weird Squirrel Behavior: A Reference Question”

Your Next 5 Books: Entertaining books for vacation

Readers in Seattle: Did you know you can get a personalized list of recommended reading? Here’s an example of  Your Next 5 Books — a reader’s request and the librarian’s recommendations (these suggestions from Eric at out Northgate Branch):

A Seattle reader wrote to us and said:

The books that have captivated me most recently are: The Help, The Silver Linings Playbook, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Night Circus, and the Hunger Games series.
I am currently reading Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis but am working slowly through it. I have a few items saved for future reads but I often am worried to try books that are not recommended by friends. I have only recently found time to be able to read for my own pure enjoyment (graduating from college) and don’t really want to take time to read something I don’t enjoy. I like books that are hard to put down as all of the above titles have been. I do not like anything very sexual and I like strong characters. Something with a weak female character especially is disappointing to me.
I really appreciate any suggestions you can give me. I am about to go on vacation and specifically would love some ideas to keep me entertained while traveling. Continue reading “Your Next 5 Books: Entertaining books for vacation”

Question of the Month: Baroque music notations

I have two music questions, both having to do with 18th century music notation: 1. Quantz used two slash marks, or something like quotation marks, over some notes. It looks like some kind of accent. What is the name of this mark and what does it mean? 2. in Telemann’s engravings he used a mark like a little hook at the end of a line to indicate the first note on the next line. What is the name of this mark?

Thank you for contacting the Seattle Public Library. I’m writing in response to your question about music notation symbols used in Baroque music.

Without seeing the actual markings in your music it is difficult to determine exactly the marking that you describe in your Quantz piece. A single vertical stroke above usually indicates a kind of staccato, not necessarily a short staccato, and probably more stressed (accented) that a staccato. Continue reading “Question of the Month: Baroque music notations”

September Question of the Month – an irregular series

I’m having the dickens of a time finding a definitive answer to the question “what is the largest nature preserve in the world?”  I’ve searched the web for hours and find many conflicting claims to the title but nothing with a reputable source. Since you have many resources beyond the Web available I’m hoping you can solve this problem for me. If you do come up with an answer please provide the source.  Thanks.

Thank you for your question regarding the largest natural preserve in the world. We found two sources stating that the Northeast Greenland National Park is the largest nature reserve (national park) in the world.

Nature Reserves of the World
1. Northeast Greenland National Park. The territory of the world’s largest nature reserve is 972 thousand square kilometers. On its territory can accommodate 163 smallest countries in the world. Opening of the Northeast Greenland National Park, May 22, 1974 at virtually uninhabited northern municipality Ittokortoormiit in eastern Greenland.
In 1988, to the park it added 272,000 square kilometers of county Avannaa in North Greenland. In 1977, the Northeast Greenland National Park was granted the status of the international biosphere reserve. The park Continue reading “September Question of the Month – an irregular series”

August Question of the Month – an irregular series

I’m wondering if you can tell me: what makes a hair stop growing? Why do, say, leg hairs or eyebrows stop growing,
but the hair on my head continues to grow?

Thank you for your question regarding differential growth rates of human hair types.

This is a very interesting question that has been addressed recently in a scholarly article – Human Head Hair Is Not Fur by AH Neufeld and GD Conroy. Evolutionary Anthropology, vol. 13:3, p. 89, June 2004.

Humans, like other mammals, have hair over most of their bodies. Head hair is different from hair elsewhere on the body because it continues to grow (although it is anatomically the same as other hair). When head hair is transplanted elsewhere, it grows longer than the hair on those parts of the body.

Here is a description of the growth process from that article:
“Both head hair and body fur grow in cycles. The hair follicle produces a strand of hair during its active growth phase, called anagen. Then the growth slows, and the follicle “rests” for a while, the telogen phase. Then comes exogen when the hair falls out, and the follicle begins growing a new strand of hair as the anagen phase begins again. Hair on the leg usually grows for 19 to 26 weeks and then falls out. Hair on the head keeps growing for two to six years.”

The article states that it is not known why head hair continues to grow, and further research is needed.

We hope this information is useful.

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