Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) fruits are dyed bright red by lycopene pigment, the same colorant that gives tomatoes their glow. They are buried in the brown husk at the bird’s feet. Like other colored autumn fruits, the magnolia is advertising its wares to passing seed-dispersers.
Across the road, the male’s mate was pecking at a dead tree trunk. After a minute or two, she flew down to join him at the fruit bar.
Thanks for this! I have always wondered how tot tell the male and female apart.
Thanks so much. When my son and I came to the mountain six years ago, there was a huge woodpecker (over a foot long) hammering away near our Woodlands apartment for weeks. We were amazed, only ever having seen much smaller and quieter ones before–except for Woody Woodpecker on screen of course. Now I know our noisy friend he was a male–a descendent of the model for Woody, I expect.
We were amazed at the natural treasures we’ve found on this mountain, especially the little Blue Bunting. Didn’t know such colors existed outside of lush tropical climes.
Sewanee is indeed full of interesting birds. The blue ones are Indigo Buntings, now headed south.