Finding Food in the Cold

Snow scene on 19 January 2022

22 January 2022

I’ve often noticed that in winter there are more birds in the city than the countryside. Though we may not have “quality” birds we make up for it in quantity with large numbers of fruit-eating birds drawn to our ornamental trees.

In the past two weeks hundreds of American robins have been feasting in Oakland. Some of the fruits were inedible until the deep freeze softened them so the robins circled back to finish the Bradford pears last weekend. This week they started on pyracantha berries and the red fruits of this (hawthorn?) tree next to the Cathedral of Learning.

Was half the fruit wasted when birds and squirrels knocked it out of the trees?

Look closely and you can see that deer walked among the fallen fruit. They must have crossed Forbes or Fifth Avenue after dark to browse on the Cathedral of Learning lawn.

Nearby, the sweetgum balls were coated in snow on Monday, all melted by Wednesday.

American goldfinches arrived to pull seeds out of the balls. Some fell on the snow.

And a crow walked by to check it out.

Birds are finding food in the cold.

(photos by Kate St. John)

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