Come back to this page each day to read another entry from Cathie Katz's beautifully illustrated journal, "Nature a Day at a Time."
||I have learned silence from the talkative; tolerance from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful to those teachers.
In the winter, beavers eat cuttings that they stored underwater in the spring, to add to their staple winter food of tree bark.
The kits, born in the spring, stay close to home for the first two years, learning and building their communication skills.
Communication among beavers is complex and sophisticated. Their 'words' are scents made from the molecules of pheromones. Specialized glands produce 50 different chemicals; the subtle combinations of these pheromones give beavers the ability to communicate at least as many messages as humans can with 26 alphabet letters.
Pity us, the long, tall upright ones, whose sense of smell has weakened over time ... What are we missing? Just imagine the stereophonic world of aromas we must pass through, like sleepwalkers without headphones.
Diane Ackerman in A Natural History of the Senses
Cathie Katz, the author of several books on natural history, also co-founded The Drifting Seed, an international newsletter about rain forest drift seeds. In her engaging Nature a Day at a Time, published by Sierra Club Books and Random House, Katz interweaves fascinating facts about familiar creatures, pen-and-ink drawings and quotations.