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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Caught Red Handed: Theft of my Dogberries

Last year I came home from the bird store and caught a chipmunk literally red handed with a berry from my dogwood tree. He'd had his fill based on the little bits of berry skin scatted around and he was burying what he couldn't finish in a flower pot. This year every day I come home, I hear a little rustle in the tree, look up and see a Fox Squirrel with big red lips looking at me innocently. The berries attract cardinals, bluejays, squirrels, chipmunks and many more animals.

These edible red berries are 2-3 inches and grow on the Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa or Benthamidia kousa), also known as the Japanese Flowering Dogwood. They taste like a pear with sweet, slimy seeds inside. But be careful before you try berries in the wild. Some berries in subgenus Swida are mildly toxic to people, though still eaten by birds.

And if you're wondering why they are called dogwoods, that's unclear. According to Wikipedia one theory is the slender stems were used to make 'dags' (daggers, skewers, arrows) and the tree was called dagwood and later dogwood. Another theory is the tree was originally called as "dog-tree" in 1548, which later transformed to "dogwood" by 1614 and the fruits were known as dogberries or houndberries.

Related Articles:
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/umlwXg
- Prepare Your Yard for Fall Bird Feeding: http://bit.ly/pkJUmW 

- Do I need to clean my bird feeder?: http://bit.ly/nYKz40
- Best foods for birds in winter http://bit.ly/6fkng
- How long does bird seed stay fresh? http://bit.ly/tRYvG9

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