Question Answered at Sunnybrook Playing Fields: January 2021

I have often noticed many tips of evergreen tree branches lying on the ground:

Who is doing this? My first thought was that squirrels do this to sharpen and clean their teeth:

Red Squirrel with spruce cone

Today I watched as a squirrel did this. After clipping many branch tips, the squirrel raced to the ground and harvested the buds at the tip of each branch. This is much simpler than doing it high in the tree.

Gray Squirrel

The Sunnybrook playing field area is very large and is surrounded by forest:


Some birds:

European Starling
Northern Cardinal (male)
Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee. Seeds were put on a towel on the hood of a car

Some botany:

Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)
Hemlock sap
Lichen
Insect activity under bark
White Spruce (Picea glauca)
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
Linden (Tilia cordata)
Linden (Tilia cordata)
Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Dog-strangling Vine (Vincetoxicum rossicum)

NATURE POETRY

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.             – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94)

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Question Answered at Sunnybrook Playing Fields: January 2021

  1. GAIL

    MISS DAISY AND I WALK THE FOREST AND THE FIELD REGULARLY DURING THE YEAR. I DON’T SEE THE INTERESTING VARIETY OF FLORA AND FAUNA THAT YOU PHOTOGRAPH SO BEAUTIFULLY BUT THE LOCATION HAS BEEN A WELL KEPT SECRET. AND ONE CAN GO DOWN THE HILL TO VISIT THE RIVER AND END UP AT EDWARDS GARDENS. IN THE SUMMER, THOUGH BEAUTIFUL, IT BECOMES CROWDED WITH PEOPLE WHO LEAVE LITTER…..SO SAD.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Volkov

    Another place I love and miss so much. It’s wonderful for me to be able to visit these places again this way. And a compelling mystery solved! Thanks, Miles!

    Reply

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