Thursday, October 26, 2006

Identity revealed by a savvy reader.


Photo: Donegal Browne

These are the leaves of the mystery plant that produces the purple fruit the birds eat with abandon.

And guess what? The answer to the identity question comes from a reader who responded in the comment section. Bravo and great big gold star! Thank you, I'm sure I may well need your expertise in the future-Botany being nearly downright infinite it its variety.

anonymous wrote,
"Your vine is commonly known as Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)."

Which as it turns out IS in the grape family and a relative of the Virginia Creeper, a native plant often seen in our area. In fact it too, is planted in the Bird Park but as yet has not taken hold in quite the boffo way of the Boston Ivy


Photo: Donegal Browne

A nifty adaptation of the Boston Ivy is its mode of clambering up things. It doesn't use tendrils but rather these cute little suckers. (I know Dr. Galen Smith my botany professor is rolling over in his grave about the word "cute", but they really are.)

See the slim pink strands coming off the stem and ending in those circular structures. The round parts are the suckers and they work extremely well. No need for twining around anything. This vine can do walls, tree bark, metal light poles, or just about anything it comes across.

And by the way, the Grey Catbird was back today eating fruit after fruit and when he was through dining, once again snugged in for an afternoon nap.

Now the question becomes, might the fruits be slightly soporific or is it something about all those nicely filling big seeds inside them?

Donegal Browne

And as I've yet been able to make the "contact" feature of the blogger program work, and I really would love to be able to have more of a personal conversation with readers, without being spammed to death, so how about I write out the contact information.

The first part of the address is palemaleirregulars, next comes that little round symbol we verbalize as "at" , the host is yahoo, then comes the punctuation mark that ends a run of the mill sentence and finally, the first three letters of the word commercial. :-)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a gem you are, a wonderful writer and seer. Please do post regularly for I dearly love reading you.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was able to comment, even more wonderful. I check your site every day without fail, even when I am much of the world away.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I have a little maroon-bellied conure who likes to ride abour in my shirt; always always always.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lincoln Karim has been showing Lola playing with a young red-tailed hawk, though not cheating on Pale Male because Lola still makes sure to be around him. What do you think the playing with the young hawk may mean?

Anonymous said...

I think what the 8:12 poster seems to be thinking. If Pale Male himself was not yet a red tail (as I think Marie said in her book) when he first attracted a mate, then perhaps the young RTH is thinking of usurping Pale Male' place in the park.

Donegal Browne said...

Thank you so much!

Donegal Browne said...

Boy, your Conure is far more snuggley than Quicksilver. In fact if Silver hears the word snuggle he takes off in the other direction, literally. Not that he isn't affectionate, you understand, he just likes his personal space.
Towards evening he will often say, "Want shoulder." Once he's on my shoulder he'll lean in and quietly say in my ear, "Tickle". At which time he'll have a lovely one finger light scratch of his head,neck, even around his eyes, all of which seems to relax him and make him quite happy. At times he makes little contented groans. These aren't bird groans whatever bird groans sound like, these are groans he's picked up from my daughter when she was little and would have her back scratched for an itch. He also rather likes having his toes stroked. ???

Donegal Browne said...

I'm not sure quite what to think about Lola and the Browntail as I haven't watched them in person and seen the whole sequence of actions.

Was the location near Columbus Circle? That may be relevant, I'll have to go and look at the photos again.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln first pictured Lola flying about with young young hawk right above the park, and described the hawks as playing. The young hawk has evidently stayed several days and was even on the building Lola has most used since summer, but not in or on Lola's window.

Though I have seen film on African grey parrots, I did not realize how readily the bird could ask to be scratched without prodding. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/01/science/01bird.html?ex=1265000400&en=41907199e02c090f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

February 1, 2005

Minds of Their Own: Birds Gain Respect
By SANDRA BLAKESLEE

Birdbrain has long been a colloquial term of ridicule. The common notion is that birds' brains are simple, or so scientists thought and taught for many years. But that notion has increasingly been called into question as crows and parrots, among other birds, have shown what appears to be behavior as intelligent as that of chimpanzees....

Anonymous said...

A curious thing about my conure, she, I think, loves darkness, as though she were a cave bird. She used to even crawl under the comforter, which is dangerous. I will in time add a parrotlet, because they are astonishing bold little birds who think and act like they are Africans.

Another thought, Gmail has simply terrific spam filtering. But, I like the cautious way in which you set out the address. I will remember the approach.

Donegal Browne said...

In regards to Greys asking to be scratched, Silver was a human hand raised baby, and as we all eat dinner together we're all part of the same flock so a little scratch is comparable to something done with his own species in the wild. Interestingly, Silver doesn't ask the male members of the family for tickles, only the female, and mostly myself. With guys he's much more into their placing their fingers on his beak at which time it's like a little playful beak and pseudobeak/finger duel. No lunging just gentle beaking.

Donegal Browne said...

Great article in the times. And if you don't know about Alex the African Grey Parrot, google up the Alex Foundation...Alex is learning to read.

Donegal Browne said...

I was going to go to Central Park today and see if I could catch Lola at "play" with her buddy the Browntail, but the weather was wet and extremely windy. So I figured the hawks would probably either be taking care of the actual business of life or hunkered down somewhere attempting to stay dry. I'll try another day.

I don't know about Lola "playing around" on Pale Male. They seem to have an especially close pairbond. They truly hang out together during the non-breeding season. Unlike some of PM's past mates who took "vacations" to Jersey after the eyasses were on their own. Pm and L, roost within sight of each other at times and even perch in the same trees during the day.

There have been rare cases where a teircel will take two females as mates, two nests, two sets of young. Though I've never heard anything close to a female have two males to wait on her beak and talon while she sat a nest. :-)

Though promuscuity in smaller birds is far more prevalent than once was thought. Particularly if there are difficulties in raiseing viable young. (Sometimes the mated pair are too closely related to have fertile eggs so the female goes off for some less genetically closely related fertilization though it doesn't seem to affect the hen staying with the original tiercil one bit. Though tough to imagine it happening with PM and L,, first the iron pair bond and second, they really do keep a constant sharp eye on each other's whereabouts.

Anonymous said...

Now, now, I must be careful not to spread rumors. These are ever so faithful hawks as opposed to the playing around kind, they really are after all. Lincoln Karim would never dream of less than faithfulness, but I wondered for only a moment.

Now I realize that you are truly a bird person, while I am a mere watcher in comparison. By the way, a conure in your shirt is awfully warm. Good grief.