Friday, November 25, 2011

Just The Germ, Please

Here's some dried dent corn I put out to feed the birds, or the squirrels if the birds aren't fast enough.

When I looked closely I saw the fatty germ of the kernel was nibbled away and the starchy endosperm abandoned. I think the cardinals do this, and the squirrels. Not the blue jays; they'll stuff 5 or 6 whole kernels in their mouth and fly away with chipmunk cheeks! The smaller finches and wrens and black-capped chickadees and tufted titmice wait until the kernels are crushed and peck at the crumbs. I think.

Humans use diagrams; birds deduce on the fly.


1 comment:

Laurie Endicott Thomas said...

The introduction of the Beall corn degerminator in 1906 unleashed a pellagra epidemic in the United States that sickened millions and killed maybe 100,000 people.