[TN-Bird] Goldfinches Eating Clay

  • From: Jud Johnston <rivendell@xxxxxxx>
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, AL Birds <albirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2019 09:54:25 -0500

Happened to notice this morning - while waiting for my wife's manicurist to arrive - 8-10 birds clustered on the side of a cliff (red clay and gravel, mostly).  Hoping they were bank swallows, I put binocular to eyes and found they were goldfinches, concentrated on a vein of whitish material that I took to be clay.  Almost 40 years of feeding birds, and I'd never seen this behavior from goldfinches.  Reminded us of the segment of Sir David Attenborough's series in which certain parrots ate white clay to coat their stomachs, so that they could subsequently eat poison berries of some type.  Is this a similar situation?

Good birding,

Jud Johnston

Waynesboro, TN

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