Posted by: atowhee | February 13, 2020


I saw blooming violets at Wennerberg Park this week, and our first native plant to bloom…is blooming.  Oemleria cerasiformes.  Indian plum.  Osoberry (though you can find it on some websites as oso berry).
Wikiepedia says, “The fruits of osoberry are edible and resemble small plums which are dark blue when ripe. Indigenous peoples of the Americas include osoberry in their diets, make tea of the bark, and chew its twigs to use as a mild anesthetic and aphrodisiac.”

It doesn’t get more than twelve feet tall, not much for a western tree.  But it will live a long life.  It has evolved to not be attractive as deer browse, meaning it won’t  get eaten to the ground.  Its range coincides with elk as well so they must not have favored it back in the days when elk were in every wet spot where this small tree thrives.INDPLM1 (2)INDPLM2 (2)

 The population of yellow-rumps in our garden is increasing.  Two months ago: one Audubon’s.  Then early this year a single myrtle showed up, then later: two.  Now we are up to six warblers: four myrtle and a pair of Audubon’s.  Sometimes they converge.  They pretend to own the feeders, bullying smaller species.  They seem to have pretty much drive off the local Bushtit flock.  The pick on one another with swoops and chipped warning calls.  Chickadees understand the sport and persist, as does the stolid little Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Bewick’s Wren is too fast for them but become scarcer.  “Who needs this crap” seems to be his wise motto.  The buzz, bomb, flutter, show off their white tail spots, generally strut around like the “owners” they purport to be.  Their twitter account is their eagerness to confront and they now account for nearly all the aggression in our garden.  Ignored, of course, by scrub-jay and starlings and the larger sparrows.WRB2 (2)wrb4 (2)wrb5 (2)wrb6 (2)Yellow-throated yellow-rump = my first good shot this day of one of the Audubon’s:wrb7 (2)wrb8 (2)wrb9 (2)The tail is more than a rudder, or indicator of species, it is a signalling device, a built-in placard for one-on-one communication or societal demonstrations.  wrb10 (2)wrb11 (2)wrb11 (3)wrb12 (2)SEIGNEUR OF SUETwrb15 (2)wrb16 (2)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: