Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why eat bugs when there's fresh citrus?

(from New

A former Manchester resident admits, “My wife and I are not avid birdwatchers, although we enjoy having them around and keep the birdbath filled with fresh water for their enjoyment. We live in a small city on the west coast of Florida, just across the bay from Tampa.

“Several days ago we enjoyed your article about the red-bellied woodpecker. It was of particular interest to us because we were in the last days of observing a pair raising their brood of two. We were very fortunate to have a front-row seat ,with the nest in a hollow dead branch of a live oak that was about 20 feet from our screen porch. Their squawking would alert us to activity at the nest. We enjoyed watching them grow up and leave the nest.

“The most unusual activity we observed was the parents feeding citrus to the young while in the nest and later watching the teaching of the young to peck a hole in the orange, feed some to the young two or three times, then fly up to a branch and watch for several minutes coaxing them to eat on their own. This took several tries before the young would eat on their own...

In the 1901 book “Wild Animals I have Known,” Ernest Seton-Thompson narrates the true story of a partial albino crow named Silverspot.

Actually, Silverspot was not much of an albino as was illustrated by the author when he wrote, “His name was given because of a silvery white spot that was like a nickel, stuck on his right side, between the eye and the bill, and it was owing to this spot that I was able to know him from the other crows, and to put together the parts of history that came to my knowledge.”

Read it all.

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