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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

Picky Birds

Geese must have sensitive taste buds. Lucy is very picky. If a melon is too ripe, she shakes her head, and spits it out with an expression that says, “Puew.” Same for melon that is too green.

The hens are not so picky. They will eat cantaloupe rinds, even the tough green layer just inside the rough brown exterior. And they’ll eat carrot peelings. That’s why we don’t have enough wet garbage to make compost. They love bread, go nuts for meat scraps
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Lucy will have none of that stuff, though she will eat apple cores and fresh lettuce. Dandelions are her favorite treat. She cleaned them out of the backyard long ago. Now I have to try and find them in the front xeriscaped garden. They’re a special treat.

Melon rind that was not too ripe, not to green, just right—was the reason she finally accepted husband Don into her circle of acceptable people (humans), without sticking out her long neck and hissing. He had sense enough to hold out her favorite treat with an outstretched hand. She doesn’t like her melon rind contaminated with dirt or straw.

I’m still wondering how birds in the wild know what to eat. And what not. Rather important bit of wisdom that--necessary to stay alive in a complex world growing with all kinds of potential food or poison. It helps to read the wonderful “Natural history of who birds are, where they came from, and how they live.”
Colin Tudge’s The Bird

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