Sunday, January 15, 2012

I’m in an education mode tonight :)

One of the things I like best about volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges is the chance to learn something new almost every day.  So tonight, I would like to share with you some things I already knew, and something I’ve learned here at Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR.  If you’re not in the mood for a lesson, then just X me out._MG_5722

It was laundry day here today, and in between loads I sat outside with Emma reading my favorite book.  I  heard some scuffling around in the surrounding brush, and found a hermit thrush making its way through the underbrush.  Do you see that rusty tail and distinct eye ring?


Those two features, plus the bold breast spots confirmed that this was a hermit thrush for me.  Of course it helped that this is probably the only thrush that will be encountered in North America at this time of the year.  Smile


Can you guess why this thrush was hanging around my rig?  It was those red berries it was interested in.  Thrushes love berries!  These are from the Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria).  Don’t you love that Latin name?

…The leaves and twigs contain caffeine, and American Indians used them to prepare a tea, which they drank in large quantities ceremonially and then vomited back up, lending the plant its species name, vomitoria. The vomiting was self-induced or because of other ingredients added; it doesn’t actually cause vomiting. Tribes from the interior traveled to the coast in large numbers each spring to partake of this tonic, and it was also a common hospitality drink among many groups. It remained popular as such among southeastern Americans into the 20th century and is still occasionally consumed today…

I don’t think I’ll be consuming any part of that plant any time soon, but maybe it gives the thrushes a buzz?  Think I’ll stick to my glass of wine in the evening…


                                                                                  THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy