Tuesday, February 6

Naked Pyracantha

Notice anything different about my pyracantha today? Scroll down to the pictures I took on Sunday morning and compare...

Yup, my lovely orange berries are gone. I noticed their absence as I walked toward the house after parking the car in the garage this afternoon. The funny thing is... I think that I know who ate them!

As I left for work this morning, my presence caused a robin to run out into the yard from the vicinity of the pyracantha. I noticed him because it's pretty unusual to see a robin hanging out in Cleveland in early February, especially when the temperatures are in the single digits.

I would guess that he's eating well here, though, because he was rather portly, even for a robin. I will be checking some of the other berried shrubs that I see on my daily walks with the dog... it will be interesting to see whether he was just passing through or whether he thoroughly made the rounds in my neighborhood.

9 comments:

Pam/Digging said...

I saw a small flock of robins today, amid the shrubs at a neighborhood nursery. I guess they are more adaptable birds than I'd thought. It was in the mid-70s here.

Ki said...

We have robins here too when the temps are supposed to not rise above the 20s. I wondered what the robins eat when the ground is rock hard. Thanks to your observation now I know! Our nandina and winterberry hollies still have their berries...I guess the birds don't like them. We had pyracantha but I planted the red berried common variety with two inch long sharp spikes along every leaf node. It grew so rapidly that I regretted planting a hedge of them. Luckily we sold the townhouse where I planted them and the new owners had to deal with them ;) I noticed they took it out immediately. Pretty berries and leaves tho.

Annie in Austin said...

In Illinois we had some upright cotoneasters which made lots of berries. The birds never ate them until they got really frozen. I'm not sure if the cold did something to the berries, or if the birds only ate them when they were desperate.
Maybe something similar happens with the pyracantha berries?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

the County Clerk said...

Robins (American Robins) are sturdy birds... in more ways than one. You might be surprised to learn about their diets. I wrote little essay about them that you might enjoy. Whatever.

I like robins. Thanks for bringing them forward in my mind.

Anita said...

I know who's steeling the berries of our pyracanthas: the thrushes ! It's one of their favourite food in the winter... and I love watching them in the garden! I have never seen any robins over here so far

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Pam/Digging, it makes more sense to me that they would be near to you! I just did a google search to figure out what they do during the winter, and apparently some of them do overwinter in the north. Apparently as long as not too many of them do so, they can get enough berries and such to survive... I had no idea.

Ki, I forgot to check the hollies several doors down this morning... thanks for the reminder. I am trying to minimize my exposure to the pyracantha's thorns by growing it as a wall shrub, but it's "bitten" me a few times already!

Annie, that's an interesting thought. I just did another google search and it turns out that some berries are just not "preferred food" so other things are eaten first, but that some berries need time to soften over the winter and aren't palatable until that happens. I'll have to find out more.

Clerk, what a great post! Mine is an American Robin, for the record... and I did a post back in June about how I fed a couple of intrepid robins while building various beds. As long as I was sitting or kneeling, they would land about 6-8 feet away and chirp until I tossed them a grub or worm that I had dug up. It was kinda fun, I admit.

Anita, according to the Clerk's post above, your thrushes and my robins are in the same family! It must be time for all of them to devour pyracanthas, be they in Germany or the USA! :)

IBOY said...

We have lots of robins here this winter in Iowa; they came north during the warm December, but seem to be staying, even though it's been below zero every day for a week. The bushes and trees seem pretty well stripped of berries and fruits, so food must be getting short for them. I suspect they will be robin blue-breasts from the cold.
Don

Gardener Greg said...

I can't wait for the Robins to arrive. That usually means spring is here but nothing seems to be normal this year :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Don, I just posted on your blog... I read a story on one of our local TV stations this weekend about how the robins are in trouble because of the short food supply you mentioned. They recommend putting out diced apples and fresh water to help them out.

Gardener Greg, thanks for stopping by! You're so right... this year is anything but normal. :)

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