Willow’s World: Foraging as it should be

Plant it and they will come! A variety of parrots once escaped from captivity or the pet traders, have enjoyed some of our habitats. But what about the habitat they came from? We cannot save them if we do not know what they eat or where they nest. Not all seeds, flowers, and fruits are the same for them as they are not for us. As you must know by now, I am a vegan and love anything fruit or vegetable. Except for mushrooms, especially when they are cooked, and olives with few that I can tolerate beyond olive oil. If we have the knowledge and use it, we can coexist with some good management practices. In one study it was found that White-fronted Parrots, like my Willow, foraged on 36 plant species in 21 families with 24.1% being non-native or cultivated. Their diet consisted of 37% seeds, 31% fruit, 26% flowers, 5% leaves, and 2% bark. Willow came into Miami in 1992, age unknown. Does she know or remember what is edible in her native world? Well, I happened to buy her some tamarind in the Indian market yesterday. Who knew she just may have found it a pleasant forage treat. Yes, that is Willow with her tamarind. For the curious, here is the list of the species in the study. Just maybe I can introduce some of these species once I get that greenhouse going and Willow’s aviary in the spring. Of course, I will make sure they are not invasive to our area. Sorry for the bad image of Willow but she hates my cell phone so I have to click quick!

Wild Cashew – Anacardium excelsum

Yellow Mombins or Hog Plum – Spondias mombin

Mango – Mangifera indica

Glassywood, ronron, or aroeira – Astronium graveolens

Pawpaw/sugar apple family – Annona sp.

Rosy trumpet tree – Tabebuia rosea

Kapoktree – Ceiba pentandra

Pochote – Bombacopsis quinata

Balsa tree – Ochroma pyramidale

Spanish elm or Ecuador laurel – Cordia alliadora

Turpentine tree or copperwood – Bursera simaruba

Brazilian firetree – Schizolobium parahybum

Maria mole – Senna reticulate

Tamarind – Tamarindus indica

Sansapote – Licania platypus

Indian-almond – Terminalia catappa* (non-native)

Peruvian almond – Terminalia oblonga

Bushwillows – Combretum sp.

Strawberry tree or Jamaican Cherry – Muntingia calabura

Gumtree – Sapium glandulosum

Coral tree or mountain immortelle – Erythrina poeppigiana

Machete, Poro, or Palo Santo – Erythrina costaricensis

Parrot flower – Psittacamthus sp.

Spanish or Cuban cedar – Cedrela odorataLysiloma divaricatum

Guanacaste, caro caro, monkey-ear tree or elephant-ear tree – Enterolobium cyclocarpum

Ice cream-bean, joaquiniquil, cuaniquil, guama or guaba – Inga sp.

Monkey-pod or raintree – Pithecellobium saman

River tamarind – Leucaena leucocephala

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