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Tue., Jan. 8, 2013, 6:42 a.m.

Watching birds eat piques curious minds

Bohemian waxwing
 (The Spokesman-Review)
Bohemian waxwing (The Spokesman-Review)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- There's a difference between seeing wildlife and observing them.  Here's a thought just posted by Moscow birder Terry Gray:

I have been spending some time over the past years watching birds that eat fruit or which some think eat fruit and do not!

Example:  American Robin and both Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings pick a berry or small crabapple from the tree and swallow it whole.  There is some documentation that states that a Pine Grosbeak is a Fruit Eater.  I disagree! 

Whenever we have had the Pine Grosbeak in town I have made a point to watch them carefully eat.  The DO take the berry or small crabapple from the tree BUT they do not swallow it.  They pulverize it with their bill and tongue and spit out the pulp and swallow the small seeds that was in the fruit.  To me that means that the bird is not eating the fruit but eating the product of the fruit, the seed. 

I personally do not think that people pay enough attention to detail when making statements and even writing up articles about what they have observed because they have not observed the total picture before making their statements or writing their articles.

Just an observation about the way bird watchers do or do not watch birds very accurately!

Good Birding!

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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