Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's strikes me that part of what Autumn brings with her is a renewed interest in the wildlife surrounding us.  In the Spring and Summer, we're surrounded by glorious displays of new growth, abundant harvests and remarkable flowers.  In the fall, we start to slow down, the leaves turn and drop.  Birds become more remarkable and obvious as they prepare for the cold winter ahead.
Many of the fruits and berries we plant for ourselves are also enjoyed by birds.  Rather than trying to keep the birds out of your strawberries, blueberries, and fruit trees, consider planting more than you need for yourself.  That way, there should be enough fruit for you and the birds. Most native shrubs and trees around here are bird friendly.  Plant some evergreens for winter cover for birds. (I apply this same philosophy to my butterfly host plants like dill and fennel)

Shrubs/ Trees that birds love:

Chokecherry- a lovely wild purple tree. Vigorous grower, great foliage that changes from green, red then to  reddish purple in fall.  20-25' H x 15' W
Serviceberry- gorgeous spring flowers, great edible berries and good tree shape.  This can either be a multi-stemmed shrub (small tree) or a single trunk tree shape.  15' H x W.
Mahonia (Oregon Grape Holly)- 4' H x W.  Shiny, leathery, persistent leaves (not quite evergreen).  Yellow blooms and great yellow/bronze colored leaves.  Some have blue black fruit which birds love!
Aronia melanocarpa or ChokeBERRY (not the same as chokecherry)- up to 6' H x W for the black variety.  Really nice leaves, great berry set.  Create good hedges from a very native-type plant!  And takes some shade too... what a plant :).
Viburnums- (this is a huge family but I'll just tackle a few)
     Viburnum dentatum, Blue Muffin- 6-10' H x 5' W, gorgeous blue berries and an upright form.
      Viburnum trilobium, Cranberry Bush-8-10' H x 8' W, red berries become black in winter, fall color is maroon. A native beauty that will take over a large space; likes moist soil and bottomlands.
      Viburnum nudum, Brandywine- 5-7'H x W, glossy leaves, berries turn from light pink to deep red, fall color is deep maroon!
      Viburnum dilatatum, Cardinal Candy- 6-8' H x 4' W, great red berry set, fall color amazing and drought/ deer resistant.

Thanks for reading... I hope this inspires you.  I'd love to have a great photo of a Blue Jay or a Cardinal on this blog but haven't been able to capture one!  Cardinals almost always love those big wild junipers (Eastern Red Cedar commonly)- those berries and the year round cover.  Behind my grandparents' house in Arkansas was a 15 foot tall craggy old juniper.  While doing dishes each morning and evening, my grandparents would admire the redbirds cavorting beside the old barn. 

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