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, July 9, 2014

Birds spread Mulberry Trees

One of the best things about taking a walk on a river trail is finding a mulberry tree full of fruit from June to August. Their mild but sweet berries are a wonderful treat, not only for humans but also for birds and mammals. And the leaves provide larval food for the Mourning Cloak and Red Admiral butterflies.

The Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) is the only mulberry tree native to Michigan. The flowers are of two kinds (male or female) and can be on the same or different trees. The 1 ½ inch long berry is fascinating as it transforms from light green through deepening shades of red until it ripens to a rich purple.

While it is a beautiful tree that provides for a lot of wildlife, the unfortunate downside to having a mulberry tree in your neighborhood is the end result. New trees are started when seeds pass through digestive tracts of birds unharmed and are deposited in pretty purple splats. Mother Nature hard at work!

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