About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do Woodpeckers Eat Apples?

Baldwin apple (U.S.A.) also known as Woodpecke...Image via Wikipedia
Baldwin apple also known as
Woodpecker or Pecker apple for attracting birds
Lots of birds like apples including most woodpeckers. And the trees like the birds right back because birds help to pollinate and spread the trees' seeds as well as patrol for insects.

About 80 million years ago an early form of rose (a short, thorny plant with small, white, five-petaled flowers) was one of the earliest flowering plants to develop on earth. After many years several fruits evolved from this early rose. Apples, pears, plums, quinces, peaches, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all belong to the Rose (Rosaceae) plant family. The apple was the result of the cross-pollination of an ancient plum and a plant we call meadowsweet, in the genus Spiraea.

Using DNA technology the origin of the apples we eat today matches a small population of a single species still growing at the border of northeast China and the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. This isolated species evolved over the past 4.5 million years to become larger and sweeter, and was carried into the Western World by travelers on the ancient “silk roads.”

The crabapple is the only apple native to North America. The pilgrims planted the first United States edible apple orchard in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1600’s.

Today Apples are grown in all 50 states. The top apple producing states are Michigan, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia.

Some birds that use apple trees and crabapple trees for their fruit, flowers, or sap are:
American Robin, Blue Jay, Northern Bobwhite, Northern Cardinal, Cedar Waxwing, American Crow, Common Grackle, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Towhee, European Starling, grosbeaks, Gray Catbird, Hairy Woodpecker, House Finch, Northern Mockingbird, orioles, Purple Finch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Tufted Titmouse.
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3 comments:

  1. It is very interesting to know that apples belong to Rose family. But when you think about it, their flowers, as well as the flowers of other fruits mentioned above have the same basics (design-wise) as the rose flowers really.

    Another fact for apples is that the name Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, means a place full of apples.

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  2. how long does it take for the birds to see the apples? We have a big one on the trellis and no one has touched it yet. Could it be that they are not used to it yet?

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    1. Birds are unpredictable. When I send people out with feeders I always warn them it might take awhile for the birds to find it. Some customers come back and say the birds were just waiting for them to leave before they were all over the food, some customers say it took several weeks before the birds were interested.

      Birds like apples, but I don't know how long it will take for them to take a bite of the one on the trellis. We have several varieties of apple trees surrounding the East Lansing store. One day I look out and the tree by the entrance is covered in birds, and then a month later another different apple tree is picked clean.

      They like the soft, very ripe apples the best. So I would just give the birds a little more time to discover the apple or determine that it is ripe enough.
      Sarah

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