Female Purple Finches in a Pear Tree

There are two female purple finches in this photo! Check out the strong brown streaking on the breast and, as shown on the second bird, the deep notching of the tail. I saw some of the males feeding on the ground below. I have two of these trees and they are a very popular hang-out for many birds throughout the year, even when the leaves have fallen.IMG_3041 More information about these gregarious birds can be found here: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Purple_Finch/id

Although this is a 3-in-1 pear tree, it (and my other pear tree) stopped producing pears a few years ago and started producing quince fruit instead (dwarf pear trees are the result of grafting onto quince rootstock). Earlier this year, I removed several smaller, criss-crossing branches to improve the airflow of the trees and hopefully have a smaller number but larger fruit (which were wiped out last year because of brown rot). This afternoon, as part of maintenance, I will be removing the new thin branches that have formed where the older branches were cut. The tree is fruiting, as shown in the photo. Hopefully, they will be healthy and edible when the time comes!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE:  The quince is related to apples and pears, whose seeds are highly toxic if ingested.  For this reason, do not ingest the seeds of these fruits.

More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

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