2023—You Can Look But You Better Not Touch 

When the sun is low early in the morning in spring at Magee Marsh near Lake Erie in Ohio, the emerging leaves are backlit and they look gorgeous. While watching for birds at eye level, I was often distracted by this sight during the first hour or so after we arrived at the boardwalk. I finally stopped to take a few shots because this particular branch with its reddish leaves and cluster stems plucked clean really caught my attention. After I got home, I identified the plant as poison ivy! Oh my! “Poison Ivy: You can look but you better not touch!” Words to live by from the Coasters. As a west coast native, I am itchily familiar with its relative, Poison Oak, but I do not recognize Poison Ivy on sight despite the “leaves of three, let it be” mantra. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, poison ivy fruit is a wintertime staple for birds and other animals and Yellow-rumped warblers depend on the berries to ride out the winter. They seemed to have picked this cluster clean.

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