Saturday, October 27, 2018

Another way to feed the birds

As I have mentioned before, I stopped filling bird feeders because of the sparrows. My backyard is too sparrow-friendly, to the point they were the only birds I saw. Also, they were stripping bark from the limbs of my tulip tree, to the point the limbs were dying. Bad birds! So I put away the feeders, at least for the time being.

That does not mean there is nothing for the birds to eat in my yard. During the summer, there are seed heads of course - sunflowers, coneflowers, etc. - but there are also berries, starting in the spring with the serviceberry crop. That tree is stripped clean in no time at all, by robins. As other shrubs and trees produce fruit, some is eaten right away, some in a more leisurely fashion, and some remains into and over winter.

Aronia melanocarpa, a.k.a. Chokeberry

The size of the crop can vary greatly from year to year as well. I have never had more than a few berries on the 'Blue Muffin' viburnum, but its cousin 'Chicago Lustre' went all out this summer. The 'Wentworth' highbush cranberry and blackhaw viburnum bloomed well but neither produced much fruit even though I don't think we had a late frost. It's a puzzlement.

Viburnum Dentatum 'Chicago Lustre', a.k.a. arrowwood viburnum

I'm really impressed with the crop on the hawthorn. This tree is not that old, but it is loaded with orange fruit. It's a delight to view through the picture window.

Crataegus viridis 'Winter King', a.k.a. hawthorn

The 'Perfect Purple' flowering crab is young, too, but trying to do its part. My dad had a flowering crab that held its fruit all winter along, to be descended upon by a flock of robins in early spring when there is not much of anything else to eat.

Malus 'Perfect Purple' , a.k.a. flowering crab

I do miss feeding the birds from bird feeders, though, and am trying to figure out a place in the front yard where I (and the cats) can watch from the window. My indoor/outdoor cat is also a problem, but the older he gets, the more indoor he becomes.

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