Friday, July 17, 2009

word of the day: pyrrhuloxias

“[R]ed birds such as cardinals and pyrrhuloxias … apparently need sufficient carotene from reddish fruits to maintain their plumage colors, so they feed on red berries. Such berry specialists will pick up chile [chili?] fruits now and then, which are about the same size, hue, shape, and brightness [as] the birds’ mainstay berries. … [W]ild chiles fequently become established under wolfberries and hackberries, for they are probably dispersed beneath the canopies of these shrubs when the birds pick their berries. Once they have germinated there, they find a buffered microclimate more suitable for growth than open, barren ground.”

source: Enduring Seeds: Native American agriculture and wild plan conservation by Gary Paul Nabhan

photo from Birds as Art

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