How to Eat a Pine Cone

I’d watched the squirrels from afar – eating them high in the pine trees, digging into what they obviously thought were delectable morsels. They even seemed to slow down their attempts at raiding the bird feeder in mid August. They’d cut them off to let them fall to the ground and haul them to a cache somewhere for the winter – or maybe for a late night snack. I found it interesting that they started to harvest and eat them around the same time we started to see the really good sweet corn arrive at the grocery store.

Heavy and oozing with sap, I hardly dared to touch them without work gloves on, but I did – this one fell next to me in mid August. A Clark’s Nutcracker worked so hard to balance it on a larger branch, but eventually it rolled off and the bird flew off, giving up. Looking at it, though, it certainly explained the ones that had the center stalks left on the bracts – not nearly as numerous as the cone cobs discarded by the squirrels. I, in turn, discarded it and went to go find the Goo Gone for my sticky fingers and wondered if the Clark’s Nutcracker’s feet were also as sticky – they must have been.

A few days before we left on our last trip to Yellowstone in mid September, I caught this guy outside the kitchen window with the camera – low enough to show what they do. THIS is how to eat a pine cone:

And after a bit, they would break it off and continue working on it – eventually tossing the cob to the ground.


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