These Are For the Birds!

With Thanksgiving in the rearview, our fall feast may have come and gone, but for the birds, their eating options are at their peak. This time of year when the temperatures are cool, many snow-birds are migrating here from the North while some of the local birds are deciding whether or not to stick around or go further South. Either way, one thing is for sure, the birds will go where the food is.

In addition to having bird-feeders and birdbaths, we can attract, protect and help fatten up these birds for winter by planting a variety of berry producing trees, shrubs and vines that birds will seek out and feed upon all winter long. Not all birds prefer the same foods, so planting a wider selection of berry producing plants will result in a backyard buffet for many different types of birds.

Pictured above are a few plants that I have planted at my house. The first is Pyracantha coccinea (Scarlet Firethorn). Many people plant it as a screening plant along property lines or roadsides as it can get very large when not pruned. You may see this plant as you are driving around town as it’s bright orange to red berries demand your eyes’ attention as well as the attention of hungry birds.

The second plant is Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar). It is a native, evergreen tree that provides a safe haven for small birds as well as bluish-grey berries (which are actually miniature cones) that birds adore.

The third plant is Callicarpa Americana (American Beautyberry). It is a native, deciduous shrub that produces purple/magenta berries from October until the birds pluck them clean. This plant is found in mass at Brittlebank Park as well as Etiwan Park. We also have a few planted at Windermere Community Garden and Chapel Street Fountain Park… is one of our favorites!

The last plant pictured is Ilex opaca (American Holly). It is another native, evergreen tree that not only provides protection for nesting,but also beautiful red berries for the birds to enjoy.

These are just 4 examples of plants that can be used in the landscape to attract birds. There are dozens more such as Lantana, Virginia Creeper, Roses and Dogwoods just to name a few. So if attracting birds to your yard is something that interests you, try planting some of these berry producers. When it comes time for a feathered, feeding frenzy, your yard will have quite the reputation.

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