Finches in Blackberry


House Finch male

Again, this post isn’t a roast poultry recipe.  It’s about a few of the House Finches enjoying the early ripe berries on the wild blackberry bush near the southwest corner of the North Basin.  As the video shows, only a few of the berries are black already.

For some reason, it’s the colorful male finches that are doing the eating here.  I saw several females on the bush but they showed no interest in the berries.

Consuming a blackberry is detail work for a finch.  The berry is too big to get the beak around the whole thing.  The bird disassembles the berry, tearing off one little pearl at a time.  What the bird does with the fruit isn’t entirely clear to me.  He doesn’t just swallow it, like we humans would.  He works it over in his beak, crushing it, letting juice run out of his beak.  He may not be interested in the skin, the flesh, or the juice at all. He may be going just for the tiny seed inside.

This blackberry bush is a birding hot spot this time of year.  Besides the house finches, I’ve seen a lot of Barn Swallows swooping and diving here.  I’ve seen and photographed goldfinches, flycatchers, phoebes, starlings, and blackbirds here, and there are probably others that I haven’t seen yet.  Nothing draws birds quite like a patch of green that is crawling with bugs and hung with berries.


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