Posts Tagged ‘American Goldfinch’

For the last two weeks of 2012 and the first week of 2013, we have been treated to impressive event around our condo in West Sacramento, CA.  The sycamore trees that grow in the area all dropped their seeds.  It began quite suddenly with humdreds of little seeds covering the sidewalks in our neighborhood.  The trees that are right outside our front door were the first trees to start dropping thier seeds, and the trees across the street started about a week later.  One of the most dramatic outcomes of this sudden seed fall are all the birds that have arrived to eat the seeds.  A very large flock of American Goldfinches showed up and spent their days draped over the spiky round fruits pulling ripened seeds before they fell.  An only slightly smaller flock of House Finches have spent their time hooping around in the grass and walking along the sidewalks picking up the seeds that have fallen to the ground.  With them are a group of a 40 Mourning Doves that doing the same.  At times, birds crowd together on the ground under the trees seeking food.

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Mourning Doves, House Finches, and American Goldfinches eating fallen sycamore seeds out of the grasses.

One of the most impressive aspects of this event was how synchronized it was.  In a three week period, all the sycamore trees in the area dropped all their seeds.  What was the trigger?  Was it some specific weather pattern?  Was it simply the calendar time of year?  Is there some signal that passes between individual trees that can be used to coordinate reproduction (hormones secreted into the soil perhaps)?

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