Adding berry producing trees and shrubs to your yard can expand your bird-viewing pleasure. Since fall is the best time for planting, consider adding a few of these “feeders” this time of year. Not only will they offer nutrition to your backyard birds, they will be lovely additions to your landscape. Our year-round resident birds that eat bugs summer, spring, and fall are forced to switch to berries in the winter. Robins, bluebirds, and mockingbirds, for instance, don’t have bill structures to hull the seeds that you would add to your bird feeders, so they’re dependent almost entirely on berries.
Fall and winter berries tend to be high in fat and carbs that birds need for energy. The nutrition in these berries also help them replace all those worn feathers, bulk-up for migration or ready themselves for winter.
Most of the berry producing plants also provide shelter. Birds will choose safety over food so choose areas where your birds will feel safe. Consider planting in clusters and near other vegetation to create natural protection against predators. If you plant your berry producing plants with limited cover or protection, you will think your birds are ignoring your offering of wonderful berries.
- Autumn berries: Dogwoods, cotoneasters, Dwarf Burford Holly, Nellie R Stevens Holly, and Beautyberry provide food for migratory birds, both to build up fat reserves before migration and to sustain them along their journey. Non-migratory birds also fatten up on these so they can enter the winter season in good physical condition.
- Winter berries: Crabapple, Sumacs, Cranberry Viburnum, Virginia Creeper, and Winterberry (holly) are all valuable to birds for both food and shelter. These plants hold their berries for a long time so that resident birds and early returning migrants can feed. Robins, Bluejays, Finches, and Mockingbirds are among the birds drawn to these plants in winter.
- Nuts and acorns: Oaks and hickories, provide food for titmice, jays, and some woodpeckers. Insects drawn to their spring flowers provide food for spring-migrating birds. These trees also provide nesting habitat for many species.
Planting trees and shrubs that birds love will not only increase your bird viewing pleasure but will also enhance the beauty and texture of your landscape.
Feel free to ask any of our associates to help you plan your bird sanctuary or check out our FREE Quick Sketch service here.