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November 21st, 2012

Feedin' on the median

When I did my most recent Urban Nature Walk, at Boston University, the first thing I noticed was this line of shrubbery along the edge of the trolley track, in the median of Commonwealth Avenue. I jaywalked, as Bostonians do, and verified my distance-identification:

Rosa rugosa, the beach rose! An invasive species that flourishes in poor soil, and produces a delicious edible fruit! Apparently the part we eat, just the skin, isn't a true fruit for botanical reasons, and the hairy bunch of seeds in the center is the original source of novelty itching powder. I picked a few and passed them around to the walk participants, who seemed to enjoy them. They were quite tasty, I suspect they had been through a frost, which is known to improve their flavor.

3:00 snapshot #1124

Another glamour shot of pest control fieldwork.

What's the difference between a squirrel and a rat? Squirrels get in the dumpster from above, rats from below.

Black capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus

As a proud Bay-stater, I'm always happy when I see a black-capped chickadee. Massachusetts shares its state bird with Maine (which used to be part of Massachusetts, so it's all good). This is one of two species in the family Paridae found in New England, the other being the tufted titmouse. Many members of the "tit family," as it is rightly called, are relatively unafraid of humans, and wild birds can easily be habituated to hand-feeding. "Chickadee" is an onomatopoeia of the bird's call. Other parts of this birds vocal repertoire are understood throughout the feeder bird community--a multi-species complex of avian creatures that rely on the same food sources and more or less communicate with one another about predatory threats.
This individual complained that there were humans and dogs much too close to the large brick of delicious fat.

Chickadees are known for hanging upside-down to feed where larger birds are unable.

The black-capped chickadee was 365 urban species #007.


The Urban Pantheist

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