07 Oct

Keywords: berries, fruits, birds, autumn

The autumn apple crop is a bonanza for local wildlife. While they are a bit difficult for a song bird to tackle, other creatures partake...

Our wildlife camera under the apple tree documented a steady stream of deer.

This spike buck also came to visit.

And even an opossum. Although we have no pictures of an apple in its mouth, omnivores that they are, apples are likely part of their diets.

This guy (a groundhog) was, however, caught in the act.

Finally, the camera picked up this Grey Squirrel. While (dancing) squirrels are better known for eating nuts; there's no reason they'll pass up a good apple snack. Granted, burying them would be futile, at least in the short term.

Rose hips are apparently not a fat-rich fruit, and so may not be the first choice of passing migratory song birds. However, during winter, we have found many an abandoned bird nest filled with hips whose seeds were dissected and devoured by mice.

Dogwood berries, on the other hand, are fattier and more favored. By this time of year, their berries are nearly gone.

Autumn Olive, a non-native like the Multiflora Rose, has little fat in its berries. They are fine for making fruit leather; not so tempting to the birds.

I'm guessing that Toringo Crab Apple (here in yellow and ....

here in red) is another sugar-rich, fat-poor food, given its fruity taste and the disinterest the birds seem to show.

The berries of European Buckthorn are, reportedly, dramatically cathartic - cleaning out our digestive systems; coincidentally or not, the berries seem to persist well into the winter.

Virginia Creeper (dark berries) and Poison Ivy (lighter berries) are apparently two more tempting bird berries. The warblers I was watching were busy eating from this tangle. Birds, apparently, do not react to Poison Ivy oils in the same way as many of us do.

Pokeweed (which Claudia also photographed last time) is another berry that's poisonous for us, but not necessarily for all wildlife. However, like Rose and Autumn Olive, it is low in fat and not a migrant bird's cup o' tea.

We don't often think of it, but Red Cedar is a berry producer too.

I find the Nannyberry to be a tasty fruit, but your mouth will soon tell you that it is not the sugar candy of some other berries.

There is one flat seed per Nannyberry berry; the 'why' of seed shape seems to be an interesting evolutionary mystery.

Grapes, for example and as most of us know, have several...

more globular seeds in each fruit.

Following an older hedgerow, I get to the Hickories. This Pignut was half-skinned by a squirrel. If you ever nibble one of these, be ready for the bitter tannins.

These thick, easily-peeling husks are from Shagbark Hickory, a much more delectable nut for us, and probably for the squirrels as well.

Acorns also come in bitter and sweet models. These cups are from an oak in the Red Oak group, the usually bitter side of the family. White Oaks, on the other hand, have nuts that are easier to stomach. Nonetheless, those little notches in the seed cap and the absence of the acorn itself suggest that a squirrel probably picked up the acorn and had it for lunch, although, perhaps, it was just preparing its harvest for burial.

The Witchhazel is flowering, while still holding on to last years nuts.

The Bumblebees were out, but they seemed more interested in the Asters.

The arrowwood is a Viburnum, like the Nannyberry, but this one, at least, had already lost most of its berries.

One last 'fruit' of autumn - a Hop Hornbeam seed cluster at its hops-like best.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Nature, Uncategorized


One response to “

  1. Judy Anderson

    January 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Very lovely. Is there a way to have this as separte pages, so that it’s not a long scroll? It would be great to be able to sort them by topic, and therefore skim them.
    That is one nice barn…


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