Birds–What’s for Dinner?

by Barbara Walvoord The Lamp Post every week publishes an enticing menu for Lathrop’s human residents at the East campus Inn. Chef Paul often uses food that is, or might be, grown locally: potato salad, squash, kale, apple walnut slaw, roasted turnips, wilted swiss chard, beets, barbequed flank steak, and (if you go a bit east of here) fish chowder or seared scallops over mushroom cream. Sharon and I went into the wetland behind the Inn last week to see what local foods might be on the menu for our birds. Well, there are the red sumac fruits that you can pick off the tree or wait for them to fall on the ground. There are some plants with seeds still sticking above the snow. seed in snow huck wetland 2 12 15 006 You can peck a dead tree for grubs.

Pileated woodpecker holes
Pileated woodpecker holes

There are a few crabapples still hanging.

Many fruit trees feed our birds
Many fruit trees feed our birds

If you go to our community garden, you’ll find the seeds of the sunflowers that resident gardener Gene Sielski plants there every year. sunflower snow crop snow 1 29 15 060 But if you’re a human, the Inn menu also offers a wider variety: saffron quinoa with black olives, rice pilaf, okra and mushrooms, or salmon. And if you’re a bird, you can always go to the little “inns” that residents provide on their patios and porches–sunflower seeds, peanuts, millet, milo, corn, nyjer seeds, and suet. Lathrop’s little bird “inns” are attracting finches, chickadees, cardinals, doves, bluejays, woodpeckers, sparrows, starlings, nuthatches, and juncos, among others. Bluebirds are around–Sharon and I have seen them in the fields. Has anyone had them at a feeder?

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