Berries and birds

I am almost, but not completely, compelled to camp next to this chokecherry (?) tree in my front yard to watch the birds (juncos, etc.) strip the tree and come back time and time again.

Last year I saw the flock of birds that stripped the tree and identified them, but I did not write down my observations, so, here I go again and I will record this time.

I write this nature post and I do not have either bird or berry tree identified. But, so, I adore berry and bird regardless.


Filed under Birds, Field Log, Life in Balance, Nature Writers, Nature Writing Series, Plants and Shrubs

5 responses to “Berries and birds

  1. Hi, Jack ~ I think your tree is Ilex vomitoria, commonly known as yaupon. There are some really good photos and some interesting information here. It mentions the yaupon tea made in Cat Springs. I’ve actually had tea from that source, and it’s very good.

    The plant that’s sometimes confused with it is Ilex decidua, which loses its leaves over the winter, and is known as possumhaw.

    The birds do love the berries of both. In fact, since the berries stay on the tree and sometimes ferment, there are numerous quite humorous reports of drunken mockingbirds and waxwings staggering around after having “a few too many.”

    I hope all’s well. We’re having as lovely an October as anyone could wish, which is nice, since Hurricane Harvey made a bit of a mess of September.

    • Hi, Linda: Yes, that’s the tree, for sure. Completely missed the plate in Peterson’s Field Guide. That’s why I put a question mark around chokecherry. And, further, I believe that the cedar waxwings were the birds that ate the berries last year. Thanks mucho. When I was writing my dissertation in 1992, I looked out the window of my apartment by the TCU campus and saw the waxwings feasting on the yaupon for a moment, then flying as a flock away, then back again. That was the first time I saw the birds and the berries. By the way, I’m reading Kingsnorth’s Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist.

      • I’ve been lucky enough to see waxwings up close just once. They were feasting on the fruit of the palms outside my house. I posted some photos of them on my blog. They’re wonderful birds — I’m so glad you get to see them, too.

        I haven’t heard of Kingsnorth, but the title certainly is interesting. I’ll look it up.

  2. Fruit bearing trees and shrubs help to complete the circle. Somewhere in the middle of many fertile ecosystems the idea of animals being fed and trees and shrubs being planted all in one fell swoop is simply overpowering. Something for me to think about tonight while I listen to the rain falling on our metal roof while trying to slide off into a deep sleep.

    • Hi, Bill. Yes, overpowering to see the ecosystems. The circle, the hoop of Black Elk. We must attend the circle, and try and stop its breakdown. We are up against a machine, but nature grinds exceedingly fine. I’m more pessimistic today than a decade ago, but I’m still resisting.

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