Blue Jays and a Monkey Ball: Today in Schenley Park

Participants in this morning’s outing in Schenley Park, 26 Sep 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

26 Sep 2021

This morning was sunny and chilly with heavy dew when fifteen of us gathered for a walk in Schenley Park. All of us are in this photo though I am just a long shadow of my usual self.

Last night’s weather sucked most of the migrating birds out of Schenley Park and did not add any new ones. I expected to see 20 species; we saw only 10. I expected 100 individual birds; we saw 63. Of those 55% were blue jays.

Plants, however, filled the gap especially this broken osage orange (Maclura pomifera) or “monkey ball.”

Monkey ball a.k.a. osage orange, Schenley Park 26 Sep 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

Its insides are damp with latex, its seeds enveloped in plant flesh. Few animals eat this fruit so why does the tree produce so much? It’s making fruit for giants. Learn more and see a video at Food For The Extinct.

Inside a monkey ball a.k.a. osage orange (photo by Kate St. John)

p.s. Here’s our eBird checklist for “The Blue Jay Walk.”

Schenley Park, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, US
Sep 26, 2021 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM, 1.8 mile(s), 10 species

Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)  4
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  4
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  35
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  7
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  7
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1

(photos by Kate St. John)

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