The Museum’s gray squirrels have shifted their diet from elm to mulberry. The dark succulent berries of the mulberry trees are ripening as I write and the squirrels have found them. I found them too, and they are delicious!
I don’t know a mammal or bird that would pass up a big juicy mulberry. It’s a good thing that the trees produce copious amount of the berries, too many if you talk to homeowners that have them next to their driveways or backyard decks.
Keep an eye out for Gray Fox and Groundhog as you leave Catch the Wind on your way to see the Lemurs. There’s a very prolific mulberry (they’re all prolific) across from the Catch the Wind map on the outdoor loop, and I’ve seen both those animals lapping up mulberries from the path there. Both Gray Fox and Groundhog can and do climb mulberry trees for the berries, but why climb when so many of the delectable fruit fall to the ground.
So, as you stroll through Catch the Wind and you begin to notice purple stains on the ground beneath your feet, look up, there may be a big juicy mulberry within your reach. It’s almost a sure thing that there’ll be a catbird, thrasher, waxwing, or squirrel up there gulping them down!
Greg Dodge is a professional naturalist as well as a writer, videographer and producer of natural history DVDs. His images have been used in various TV productions, museum displays, and corporate videos. Above all, he has a fascination and passion for all things natural.
He can be found Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dinosaur Trail. Ask him what’s new in the wild!