The Helpful Gardener
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Bird Plants

I will start this one by listing some of the best, including true native types, by order of usage (nationwide). SO...by order of usage, by highest number of species...

Oak
Pine
Blackberry
Wild Cherry
Dogwood (more shrub than tree)
Grape
Poison Ivy (UH-HUH)
Cedar
Prickly Pear
Maple
Blueberry
Hackberry
Birch
Mesquite
Elderberry
Serviceberry
Sumac
Aspen
Fir
Sagebrush
Beech
Willow
Spruce
Manzanita
Alder

There's the top twenty five woodies. NOW that don't mean I'm running home to plant manzanita and prickly pear; no usagae in my area on those two. And this doesn't account for grasses and forbs and perennials. But pick the ones that grow in your area and add them to the yard, and you WILL get more birds (ask any of the folks with wildlife gardens I put in...)

I did woodies because they do more to create housing as well as food sources. And I included the poison ivy to show you that it doesn't matter what we like in a garden; wildlife has it's own ideas...

opabinia51
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All species of Oak? I know I've seen this dove perched on one of the Garry Oaks at a local meadow. That's cool that the genus as a whole is supposed to attract birds.

The Helpful Gardener
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It's a mast food source in every area of the country; whites and reds in my neck, mossycups and blacks down south, live oak in California. So many species that it was bound to be huge...

In my neck of the woods there are around sixty species of birds that use it; turkeys and nuthatches depend on it. Wood ducks eat little else in the Great Lakes. Texas and Oklahoma wouldn't have quail without 'em. And no matter where you live in this great country, you have jays and they eat almost nothing else. Blue, California, Florida or Stellar; they eat acorns...most woodpeckers too...

And let's not get started on squirrels, deer, raccoons, bear, chipmunks...

And yet my industry grows dang few of them now because people have stopped planting them. Because they aren't quite as fast as a maple. And they usually plant a Norway maple cuz it's faster. It's a forest invasive that won't let anything else grow under it, so it's destroying native forests, but let's plant THAT one...

So be a buddy to all creatures great and small. Plant an oak. Your grandkids will thank you...
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

opabinia51
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Yes, it takes 20 years for a Garry Oak to produce fruit. But, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be planted.

About 11,000 years ago (it could be 14 000 years, I'm not sure on the exatct date) the entire Island was coverd mainly with Garry Oak and other Deciduous trees. After the ice age the conifers made a huge resurgence and took over the habitat that was once dominated by Quercus garryana and other decduous trees.

Now, the Island (Vancouver Island) has spatterings of Garry Oak meadows and hillsides. A nice tree.

The Helpful Gardener
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Even you guys up in spruce and fir land have oaks!

opabinia51
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Spruce, fir, pine, yew, cottonwood, Maple and yes, even Oak. Lovely trees.

There is a small Island a few kilometers out from the Bay that I live above that has an old overgrown apple orchard with plum trees as well. My landlord is the park ranger there. Our little dream is to go and prune the living daylights out of those trees and get them going again.

The Island was orgininally settled by a Captain Beamont who donated it to the Scouts of Canada who later donated it as a park to the BC government.

I think it would be nice to have that orchard up and running again because when people camped there, they could harvest fruit. And all the birds and other wildlife that live on the island would enjoy the fruit as well. :wink:

Speaking of bird attracting plants: Blackberries. The island (named Discovery Island) has these blackberry bushes in it's interior that have variegated leaves. Birds are abound in the bushes! And the berries are the sweetest I have ever tasted. Yum yum.

grandpasrose
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You forgot birch, aspen and cedar Opa!
I have a little oak tree of my very own here. It is about three feet tall now. It was planted from seed given to me by a friend from Ontario. It is about six years old now. They are veeeerrrrryyyy slow growers!!!
But I do have an oak! :wink:
VAL
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

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And oaks are my very favorites, but all trees are nice...

The Mighty Oak and the Humble Fir
by Sally Calhoun

A mighty oak and a humble fir
stood next to each other in a forest.
After a time they began to speak,
and drew comparisons.
"I am very strong," said the oak.
"My wood is hard, and, except for the dropping of some leaves
in autumn, I am steadfast, brave, and true."
The fir tree pondered.
"My wood is soft," she said.
"And I am sensitive to the sensuous caress
of every passing wind. But I am steadfast too."
"I am king of the forest," said the oak.
"I can see that I shall need to take care of you."
"Not so," said the fir. "You are stubborn, obdurate too."
And so they squabbled for a bit,
speaking from pride.
"You are rigid," said the fir,
"while I am flexible,
bouncing back from every perilous storm."
"I stand my ground," countered the oak.
"None of that namby-pamby waffling for me!"
He dug his roots even further into the earth,
while the fir tree waved her branches frantically.
For some time they did not speak.
Then somehow, with time (for that was all they had),
they came to see
their bitter gibes had roots in jealousy.
"I wish that I were green," confessed the oak,
"and able to bend so gracefully!"
"You're always so erect,"declared the fir.
"And nothing ever fazes you!"
And so they made their peace,
and merrily they dwelt, commenting on, sporadically,
the beauty of each other's progeny.

We often have differences, but I think we can end up dwelling merrily... :wink:

Scott

The Helpful Gardener
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Enough about the big plants, perennials and grasses are great bird food sources too. I am a huge fan of the genus Panicum, or switchgrass. LOTS of bird use and enough new forms out there to find a color and size that fits your garden. Coneflowers and black-eyed Susans are great finch food; just leave those heads up all winter. Sunflowers of all types (there are perennial ones as well) are great, as are verbascums. Think about bird feeding in your border as well!

HG

opabinia51
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Helianthus maximillani is a favourite of mine and it can act as a barrier to deer as well!

The Helpful Gardener
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I have a few Silphiums in the yard and those seemed appreciated last year...

HG

constance
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Location: Southern Illinois

We were fortunate to build our house on land that has some enormous oaks..
probably 3 times the height of our 2 story house. We have Pin Oak, White Oak, and Shingle Oaks. There are also choke cherry, sumac and mulberry trees, all favorites of the birds.
They also enjoy the wild blackberries, elderberries, and the tiny fruit on my ornamental crab tree. They leave the Pyracantha berries alone until they start to rot, then they go after them as well.
The wild canaries (goldfinches) love the coneflower seeds, and it's a joy to see a flock of them in my perennial bed in late summer.
We get by with a little help from our friends



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