These hood-like leaves that cover the plant's spadix have an almost sculpture-like quality. After photographing several of the burgundy leaves, I noticed that some had the spadixes removed. It wasn't a surgical removal, but for the most part the hoods were still there.
I turned to the internet for what animals might eat skunk cabbage.
What I found didn't really clear up the mystery, but it did provide some insight.
A 2015 article on www.piquenewsmagazine.com provided a possible reason why bears would consume the stinky plants.
"When bears awake after hibernating, they haven't defecated in a long time. Prior to hibernation, they ingested leaves, hair, dirt and needles to form a fecal plug up to a foot long in their lower intestine," the site posted.
"Enter skunk cabbage, nature's Ex-Lax. Bears eat the plant to get things moving again," the post claimed.
I doubted it was bears that ate the spadixes out of the cabbages at the neighbor's pond. So I continued to search.
A post on the Cornell Botanical Gardens' website cornellbotanicgardens.org added a few more critters to the list of those who might consume skunk cabbage.
"Most herbivores avoid skunk cabbage foliage, but hungry black bears and snapping turtles may sample the leaves in early spring when they come out of hibernation. Wood ducks, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasants, and bobwhite quail eat skunk cabbage seeds," the post stated.
Other posts had mentioned that wood ducks and squirrels may eat the seeds.
However, they made it seem like the animals would only be consuming the spadixes after the fruit or seeds had ripened.
Early last Sunday morning, the gang and I spooked about half a dozen wood ducks at the neighbors pond. I always try desperately to get photos, but they are much too skittish.
This week we managed to scare off two Canada geese, three wood ducks and a mallard couple.
The trail camera usually captures better photos then I can of the colorful waterfowl. However, the captures this week were in poor lighting and only showed shapes on the water.
The next frame showed the reason why they were on the move.
"There is evidence of fisher predation on white-tailed deer, but the frequency and effects of such predation are thought to be limited," said a Wildlife Note on the commission's site.
I was tired of a week of crooked pictures after Kennedy felt the need to adjust the angle daily.
That's just the nature of things 'round here.