Blackberry Provides Valuable Habitat

From time to time, over the years, we have written about the value of blackberry as habitat, and as part of this wonderful forest.  (See: Sutro Forest Ecosystem and Wildlife Habitat.)

Recently, wildlife photographer and observer Janet Kessler published this article on Coyote Yipps, documenting coyotes feeding on blackberry. It’s republished here with permission.


EATING HIMALAYAN BLACKBERRIES IN SAN FRANCISCO

by Janet Kessler

[Click on the picture above for a 5-minute video of coyotes feeding on blackberry.]

Notice how gingerly the coyotes move around. That’s because thorns hurt them as much as they hurt us humans. Both coyotes carefully rummage through the patch of berries, picking just those that are perfectly ripe and delicious. They spent over half an hour doing so.

I’ve been noticing a lot of fruit seeds in coyote droppings everywhere lately, so coyotes all over are enjoying summer fruit. What I don’t know is if they are being drawn to the fruit simply because it is delicious and they like it, or if it is because their usual rodent pickings are scarcer at this time.

Please note that Himalayan Blackberries are an important food source, not just for coyotes, but for all sorts of wildlife, including birds, AND even we humans love to pick and eat them. They are a Horn-of-Plenty for so many species, not only as a food source, but also as an impenetrable, thorny thicket, which serves as a protective habitat barrier for wildlife from dogs and humans. It tends to be invasive, so it may need to be controlled in places, but let’s think twice about altogether exterminating such a useful plant.


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