[NAFEX] Sumac fruit question

dwoodard at becon.org dwoodard at becon.org
Tue May 15 09:20:20 EDT 2007

Some years ago I read an entry on sumac fruit in a book on plant
foods for animal wildlife ("game management") the name of which
I have forgotten (I don't recall if they distinguished among
sumac species).

It stated that sumac fruit are eaten by birds in winter when other
fruits are not available. The birds are unable to maintain weight on
sumac (I presume due to limited nutrient content/availability versus
the energy cost and rate of digestion) but lose weight at a
considerably reduced rate compared to starvation. So we could look
on sumac as an "iron ration" of last resort for winter birds. The
birds would likely be eating them when few human observers are around.

I have also read elsewhere that birds eat sumac fruits (that have
survived winter) in spring, and I have read in another publication
that in spring sumac fruits are infested with small insects; I
surmise that the insects would add to the nutritional value at
that time.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

On Tue, 15 May 2007, Jim Fruth wrote:

>    What eats Sumac berries?  Is there a bird that used to eat Sumac berries
> that is now extinct?  I have never seen anything eat the fruit but some
> critter must, otherwise how does it get transplanted from one place to
> another?

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