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?
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