Holly berries are somewhat toxic to humans, though their poisonous
properties are overstated and fatalities almost unknown.
They are extremely important food for numerous species of birds and are also eaten by other wild animals. In the fall and early winter the berries are hard and apparently unpalatable. After being frozen or frosted several times, the berries soften, and become milder in taste. During winter storms, birds often take refuge in hollies, which provide shelter, protection from predators (by the spiny leaves) and food.
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