Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, November 28, 2005

On ripe Mulberries

I have been out picking a dish of ripe Mulberries (Morus spp.) in Judy's front garden. They look delicious. In fact the Mulberries on the tree are "left-overs" - the ones the Currawongs (Strepera graculina ) could not eat. Fortunately there are enough to go around. I guess that says something about Nature's bounty.

Judy's tree is only young, but I know they can grow to be very large. At this stage I can pick the fruit from most of the branches, which is good. We need to decide whether to prune the tree for future years, or just let it grow up, and provide more feed for the Currawongs. Not that Currawongs need any encouragement.

When I was growing up in Canberra (from 1959 onwards), Currawongs were regular winter visitors. They were described as "vertical migrants" - that is they came down from the mountains behind Canberra in winter, to feed on the abundant berries and other fruit which Canberra people grew (conveniently for the Currawongs). However, they did not breed in Canberra at that stage, as they like really tall treees as nest sites. Now that the trees in Canberra's gardens and parks are more developed, they breed in town, which is bad news for the resident small birds, such as the Blue Wrens, and Thornbills.

Currawongs mostly eat berries and fruit in Autumn and Winter. In Spring and early Summer, when they are feeding their young, they change their diet to a higher protein intake. They raise their young on insects, worms, and also eggs and nestlings of small birds. Hence, they are generally unpopular birds with Canberra'a bird watchers.

Should I suggested that Judy chop down her Mulberry tree? I don't think so!

7 comments:

The gardener 'of sorts' said...

I was thinking that the tree should have it's fruit accessable to you and maybe a higher branch or two for the birds. Does it serve any other purpose such as shade?

Denis Wilson said...

Thank you "Gardener 'of sorts'". Interesting suggestion. A kind of 2 tier pruning system? It could look ugly, but might work. I could net the lower half of the tree, and leave the top part free for the birds.
Denis

ah said...

I don't remember seeing that tree - did we sit under it?
I have just given up and removed the netting from the strawberries. It has been too wet and the berries were bland to begin with. Now they are bland, wet and rotting. The Currawongs may eat them. See if I care!
(But I did put the net over the rasberries that were showing the first signs of ripening.)

Denis Wilson said...

Anni - Ii is only a little Mulberry tree, as yet. But it is bearing lots of Mulberries. It is netted on the lower parts, up to where we can reach with a stick - to push the net over. The Currawongs can have the rest.
Denis

Anonymous said...

Yay, mulberries! There was a tree in the corner of my high school, just next to the Seriously Slimy cricket nets (the advantages of taking over a former boys' school; I can't see the state government building cricket nets explicitly for girls, somehow)- very convenient for early-morning post-training treats!

Denis Wilson said...

Dear Anon. Were the cricket nets "seriously slimy". because of the squashed Mulberries, or for reasons to do with the previous inhabitants of the school grounds?
And, I agreee it is unlikely that the Gov't would fund a cricket facility for a Girls' School. You would think that Gov'ts are run by blokes.
Denis

Anonymous said...

No, the pseudo-astro turf was particularly prone to fungus. We normally managed to scrape a small path on one side so we didn't slip when bowling; this didn't prevent me from almost dislocating my knee at one session. Ouch.
The mulberry tree was just behind the nets, slap bang up against the fence of the house next door - the residents became very used to the sound of teenage cricketers scrambling about on their roof in the early hours of the morning, hoping to retreive their poorly aimed balls. They even left a ladder by the back of the house to stop us from climbing up the hot water system.
And a grand time was had by all.