Enjoy saying the name of this animal: fay-no-pehp-lah. Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens, means ‘shining robe,’ an appropriate name for this medium-sized bird with gleaming black features and a fine crest atop its head. This bird lives on mistletoe berries from October to April and insects and other fruits from May to September. One bird can eat over 1000 mistletoe berries a day! As the berries are passed through the bird’s digestive system, the seeds are prepared for germination. Then, when digestion is complete, the Phainopepla deposits the seeds on branches in juniper trees, mesquite trees, or acacia bushes. The parasitic mistletoe seeds germinate and grow right there on their “host” plant. You can often find Phainopepla near Red Springs and Calico Basin.
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