As I write tonight’s post the katydids are already chirping outside in the humid night air. Thus the last half of summer has begun. It also signals that the mountain magnolia has fruited. While technically it’s not ripe it has changed color. It’s highly visible follicetum can be seen in in a whirl of giant leaves that gives my mountain a tropical look. The berries are not toxic but they’re also not pleasantly flavored for humans. They are however a favorite food of the Eastern Towhee. The elusive ground dwelling songbird that has pretty much escaped my lens since early Spring. In the thick understory of summer he’s all but invisible. I only know that he’s still around because I hear him singing occasionally and see the branches and twigs move when he changes location. But, “Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise” as the old timers say I’ll have my chance when the Magnolia drops its fruit. The pinkish cluster will turn black with brilliant red berries and then the little Towhee will have a feast! The Magnolia is spread by ground dwelling birds and I think that the Towhee might have a little competition this fall. For a sound that I’ve not heard since I was a kid rang out through my yard today. The call of a Bob White quail! I realize that in some parts of North America this is a common everyday experience but in the early eighties they just seemed to go away here. They left along with the grouse, whip-poor-will and nighthawk. Some say that it was the rise in the coyote population that caused the decline in ground birds and others say it’s the fault of pesticides. I think it’s probably a little of both but I was thrilled to hear the little guy’s voice calling out “Bob Bob White!” over and over this evening. I hope this means that the other birds are also on their way home to my mountain.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
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2 thoughts on “Magnolia Berries And The Return Of Ground Birds”
It is truly exciting to hear some of the birds return because it signals restoration. There are many ground birds in my part of Alaska, grouse, ptarmigan, and more. Enjoy all your photo opportunities! Blessings! ❤️
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Thank you so much ♥️!
As a kid I could step outside almost any given day and drum my chest and within a few minutes a grouse would drum back to me. Every evening we could hear a whip-poor-will and a Bob White could be heard occasionally in the morning. But they all seemed to disappear at the same time.
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