Friday, March 04, 2005

This moss, known as Orthotrichum consimile, grows on a Vine Maple tree outside my window. Last winter, and now again this winter, I've noticed a Dark-eyed Junco picking something off of these moss clumps, rolling it around in its bill like a seed, and apparently swallowing it. The bird does not appear to be finding seeds hidden in the moss, but rather to be eating part of the moss itself. The mystery is -- what part? I wonder if any other observers have noticed birds doing this, and if perhaps they can tell me what the food item is. Maybe the spore cases?


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