Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Berry good

Even though I feed the wild birds in the winter, I still like to provide them with as much natural food as possible. Hence, the berries. Next year I hope to plant winterberry under the arborvitae and add a Prairie Fire crabapple tree to the backyard, to augment what I have so far.

Several years ago, I attended an Acres presentation on bower birds. Something the speaker said has stuck with me (along with the slo-mo video of birds mating): many birds seem to favor food that is the same color as they are. I don't know how accurate this is, but I know cardinals and robins like red.

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliant', aka chokeberry, grows on the south side of the backyard.

Cotoneaster grows on the east side of the house.

These plants are brambly, affording rabbits with good hiding places. They like the berries, too.

The Lonicera sempervirens, aka honeysuckle vines, grow on the north side of the backyard. Not red-red like above, but close.

What birds eat this deep purple pokeberry?

According to Greensboro Birds, grackles, blue jays, and bluebirds, among others.

The leaves of the Viburnum prunifolium, aka Blackhaw viburnum, are turning purple along with the fruit.

The first year this shrub fruited, the birds ignored it until late winter, when there wasn't much else to eat.

But now these berries disappear along with the others.

When I purchased viburnums for my backyard habitat, the nurseryman knew what I wanted the shrubs for. And yet, he sold me one that simply does not fruit despite its beautiful flowers (Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga'), and one that needs to be cross pollinated (Viburnum Dentatum 'Blue Muffin'). I added a 'Chicago Luster' to do the cross pollinating, so I'm hoping for a good result fruitwise, maybe even next year.

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