The sweetgum trees in my front yard provide lovely shade in the summertime and many layers of dead leaves in the fall; they also cover the yard and walkways with pointy, round seed balls — a perpetual hazard underfoot. But I now have a bit more respect for those ubiquitous pods, now that I’ve seen birds, like these Lesser Goldfinches, using them as a source of tasty seeds in the cold winter months.
The golfinches aren’t the only birds getting food from our trees. The House Finches have also visited, as well as a bird I tentatively identified as a Pine Siskin.
Hanging upside down seems to be a popular posture for digging out the seeds.