Friday, November 11, 2005


It's that time of year when the pyracantha bushes on our hill are loaded with their red berries. Actually our particular bushes are much closer to being pyracantha trees. My mother-in-law planted them nearly 40 years ago and I'm sure the birds are glad she did. I probably wouldn't have planted them - or at least, not nearly so many of them, because they're so spikey, and the berries aren't edible for people. But the birdies? They love 'em - apparently, according to my hubby, the amateur naturalist, because they become intoxicated by them! Which explains all the wobbly robins. Whew! it's not the avian flu! The rockin' robins have just been partying like little rockstars! Par-Tay!

Yes, that's right - we're contributing to the delinquency of birds, here, at Tinker's Place. It's open bar on our hillside! Part of me finds this hysterically funny; yet, the responsible Mom side of me thinks - "Who's checking ID's out there? Are there little underage birds out there? Are they flying under the influence?" According to my birdwatching husband though, they're just having a bit of harmless fun.

Now I have one more incentive to set up my backyard cafe area soon, so at least they'll have somewhere to sober up, before flying south!

Update: Checked out pyracantha on the Internet - apparently pyracantha berries (at least according to one article) are edible - you can make a jelly out of them....somehow I don't totally trust that, though. Don't they always tell you to avoid the red berries if you're trying to survive in the woods? In another article from National Geographic, a writer talked about watching scores of robins and other birds excitedly stripping all the berries off a pyracantha shrub in short time. He didn't say anything about them becoming drunk...but maybe he was trying to shield their reputations! It's funny, all these years I've watched them going after these berries, but I always thought it was just sort of like me going after chocolate-covered strawberries at a buffet....mmm...chocolate. Anyway, if anyone else knows what the story is with pyracantha, I'd be interested in hearing about it!


violetismycolor said...

My aunt (who lived next door when I was growing up) had some of those bushes and I used to eat them all the time. I thought they tasted like apples! Good thing they weren't poisonous!

Terri /Tinker said...

Ok, so the info I found about making jelly from them IS true! Thanks for confirming it (& I'm glad for you they aren't poisonous, either!) Do you know if the birds really get looped on them or not? I'm still curious about that...