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Why Do Parrots (And People) Eat Clay?

Via Frans Lemmens/Getty Images

 

A couple of hypotheses regarding parrots’ practice of geophagy…

The parrots of Southeastern Peru crave an earthy delicacy: dirt. At the Colorado clay lick, a cliff face rising above the Tambopata River in the western Amazon Basin, parrots — often hundreds at a time from up to 18 species — gather each day to feast on sun-hardened clay.

“It’s a real spectacle of both sight and sound,” says biologist Donald Brightsmith of Texas A&M University.

As director of the Tambopata Macaw Project, Brightsmith has spent 16 years leading researchers and volunteers who record the comings and goings of these hungry parrots. Their goal, in part, is to get to the bottom of what drives this earth-eating habit, which occurs throughout the region.

Read on at The Salt.

The Art of Cheesemaking in Peru

Newsletter. 10.14.2015 perucheese

…I had come to Baños to learn about cheesemaking in the Andes after seeing mountains of cheese in the small city of Huanuco. In the central market, there were aisles of cheese—fresh white wheels, stacked up chin-high in front of the vendors. Pitchers of fresh milk, served hot with breakfast and dinner, stood on every table. For a small town, this was an immense amount of dairy…

What goes in to making all that cheese? Read the story at Munchies.