Fledglings eating poke berries

dave_in_vaAugust 17, 2008

I'd heard they ate poke berries and I'd seen blue birds with berry stains around their mouths, but this was the first time I saw them eating them up close.

These fledglings are 34 days old. They are just beginning to come to the deck for meal worms.


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WOW how COOL! Where can I buy a poke berry bush??

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 10:27PM
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I don't know that anyone sells it. It is a weed that grows wild and is generally considered a nuisance by farmers in the South. It is hard to get rid of, partly because it has a deep tap root. It is historically associated with poverty, at least here in the South, where they say the leaves can be gathered and used in a salad. It was featured in an early '70's song by Elvis called "Poke Salad Annie."

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 10:58PM
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What a great series! These could be inspirations for beautiful paintings... How on earth did you get these great shots?!? That last one, you can really tell the girl from the boys.
When I used to ride horses, we often had purple stains on our jeans from brushing against poke berries! Pokeweek is a perrennial weed, often seen on roadsides and fallow fields. It can be eaten but if not prepared properly can be toxic, so it is considered noxious, but only invasive in some parts of the country. But after seeing these pics, pokeweed would be welcome in my garden any time!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:11AM
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Beautiful pictures. I have not seen the bluebirds eat the poke berries, but I know the cedar wax wings love them. I have tons of them in my gardens. The birds eat the berries and poop out the seeds, now I have about 15 bushes around my yard. The huge bush I had (that stared all the little bushes)died. They have taken over my butterfly garden, so I will have to pull some of them out. I heard the berries are poisonus to humans.

Thanks for sharing your pictures, glad to know the blues love them too.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:13AM
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Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures! They make me appreciate Pokeweed even more.

Pokeweed is a native plant to Pennsylvania...I'm sure its range is much further than that. It can be attractive in the right location. I do have some already growing on the property that I recently purchased. They are unique in that they continue to flower while their berries are ripening. (Most plants flower once and then ripen into berries.) It continues to produce berries which provides a food source over a longer time.

I had read that the early sprouts could be boiled and eaten like asparagus---BUT, it required multlple changes of water to remove the toxins. I'd be wary if you don't know what you are doing.

I do have pokeweed and I have seen bluebirds in my yard. Unfortunately, I've not had a successful nesting...yet. I'd love to see fledglings exploring their world...and love to get pictures even half as good as yours!

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 11:59AM
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Thanks, here's a shot showing his wing feathers.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 12:20PM
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Another beautiful shot! Cool position, too.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 3:32PM
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OH MY!! That is a GORGEOUS picture WOW

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 4:27PM
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Beautiful Dave,

I love that last one especially.

It's good to see that your fledglings are still hanging around. Our's are too and we still see at least various ones from nests 1&3... not too sure if any of the 2nd nesters are still here.

always glad to see your posts here,


    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:33PM
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Kenn is the camera you have the 6 megapixel?? I am looking on Ebay to see about getting one, I love photography and will be going to Denali next year to photograph the bears there

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 9:41PM
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Beautiful shots. I have pokeweed all over the place, some with thick stumps like trees. Used to cut them down but now, I leave them for the birds (having read about it here).

There are alot of "weeds" I used to dig out that I now imagine I am paying $$ for to replant.

Ragweed is another "weed" that is extremely beneficial. A certain maggot lives in the stems which apparently the dees adore and is a valuable food source in winter.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 2:15PM
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I have several large Pokeberries in my woods--I like them because the birds do. I once fired a lawn maintenance worker who cut down one at the edge of the woods! I think they're attractive in their own way.

Fran in NJ

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 2:57PM
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