Yesterday, outside my office window, I watched a flock of yellow-rumped warblers (aka "Butter Butts") munching out on poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) berries. I was a little surprised to see them eating the berries this early in the season because there are still plenty of insects out there for them.


Watchmania said...

There must be lots of edible things for humans in the swamp, too. Do you ever forage for food, and if so which things? (and do you have any recipes for bullfrog pie ;-)

swamp4me said...

SGJ, we do forage a bit out in the swamp but we try not to take too much -- we feel it's better to leave the food for wildlife.

Some of the things we eat from the swamp:
hickory nuts
black walnuts (Treebeard likes 'em)
cattail tops
smilax shoots
tick trefoil seeds (a pain to shell!)
polk salad
rose hips
...and other stuff

Watchmania said...

That's a fantastic list! Some of those things are completely new to me (smilax shoots et). Others grow here too, and some are imported and sold in stores (eg pawpaw). Beech mast (which I guess is the same as beechnuts?) is common here but generally people don't eat it. It's popular food for free range piggies, and some people crush it to extract its oil.

Looks like you could probably live off the land very well in the swamp, if you had to.

Wayne said...

Wow - tick trefoil - I'm very impressed. Congrats on your repertoire.
"Butterbutts", aren't you the one who named wheelbug nymphs "Firefannies"?

You are also the one (I think) who posted the great pic of Decumaria flowers a few months ago. All our producing climbing hydrangeas are 50 feet up tulip poplars or giant sweetgums - very frustrating. In fact I can't think of a single vine - virginia creeper, poison ivy, climbing hydrangea, even (shudder) japanese honeysuckle - that starts flowering and fruiting until it's made a good climb.

There are some trees close by that I've liberated from their clinging poison ivy, but for the most part I kind of like seeing the vine in the trees and the birds do love the berries.

swamp4me said...

Wayne, I'll take the blame for "firefannies," but some birder coined the name "butter butts" a long time ago :)