I received an email from Christine Perdue earlier this week with this interesting observation of pine siskins on spicebush. Let us know what you think might be going on here!
Our native spicebush, Lindera benzoin, is well known as an excellent shrub for wildlife. It is a larval food for butterflies, produces nutritious berries for fall migrants, and offers early spring bloom and golden fall color.
Here is a new twist, however. Ever since the spicebush outside our patio came into bloom this spring, it has been a magnet for a flock of pine siskins.
They creep along the branches and peck into the flowers, obviously finding something delectable. A flock of siskins has regularly visited the feeders all winter, but the birds quickly abandoned niger seed for the spicebush flowers.
Occasionally they are joined by chickadees, white-throated sparrows and song sparrows, who follow the same feeding pattern. Does anyone know what form of insect might inhabit the spicebush this early in they season?