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Celebrating The Holly Berry

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The berries on our American holly trees were very heavy this year. Millions of their little white flowers bloomed in May and the berries developed over the summer, mostly unnoticed as they’re green until it gets cold in the fall, and then they turn first yellow, then orange, and finally a deep red.

Great for decorating over the holidays, holly berries are also food for many critters. Each year flocks of robins feast on the berries as they did last week in our yard during a snowstorm, hundreds of birds flying in and out in a mad dash to eat the most berries – it’s fun if a bit crazy to watch.

Studies show that the birds may be getting drunk off the berries which can ferment into alcohol. You can sometimes smell it a bit and as further proof we’ve had several squirrels munching holly berries non-stop and racing around like intoxicated party animals. One squirrel even dropped to his death on New Year’s, perhaps from over-partying on the potty berries of our American holly tree.

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