Feeding the birds.
Many shrubs, climbers, trees, garden and ‘wild’ plants provide food, directly or indirectly, through berries, seeds or the insects they attract.
Berry or fruit bearing trees and shrubs will attract members of the Thrush family, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Mistle and song Thrush, Redwing and Robin. Also Starlings and, in some winters, Waxwing and even some Warblers, e.g., Blackcaps who eat berries in the early autumn before they migrate. Unless mentioned, the berries attract all the above birds plus others as specified.
Shrubs with berries.
Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) : bright red fruits
Berberis : most forms have black/purple berries, especially loved by Blackbirds.
Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ : bright violet coloured berries.
Cornus (Dogwood) : blue tinted white berries (not C.Mas).
Cotoneaster : prolific red, orange or yellow berries – birds often choose red first, through orange to yellow last. (Note berries are poisonous to humans).
Euonymous europaeus (spindleberry) : large bright red fruits which open to emit orange red seeds.(Note berries are poisonous to humans).
Ilex (Holy) : red, orange or yellow berries – red berries preferred (need partner to fruit).(Note berries are poisonous to humans).
Mahonia : decorative black berries.
Rosa rugosa : large red hips, particularly attractive to Greenfinches which pick out the seeds.
Sambucus (Elder) : red or black berries – over 32 species reported eating them, especially Blackcap and, occasionally, Collar Doves.
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose) : translucent berries
Viscum album (Mistletoe) : familiar white globular berries of this parasite that grows in trees, especially apple, are a good food source for Blackbirds.
Climbers With Berries.
Chaenomeles (Flowering Quince/Cydonia): Autumn Quinces.
Hedera (Ivy) : shiny black berries
Lonicera (Honeysuckle : red or black berries attract Thrushes plus Bullfinches and Marsh and Willow Tits. (Note berries are poisonous to humans).
Pyracantha (Firethorn) :red, orange or yellow berries – choose red for the birds to eat before Christmas usually with orange or yellow to follow in a hard winter.
Clematis vitalba (Old Man’s Beard) : seedheads are enjoyed by many birds.
Trees with Berries or Fruits.
Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn) : red berries.
Malus (Crab Apple) : red fruited varieties are best for birds.
Prunus (Cherries) : fruits quickly picked off.
Sorbus aucuparia (Mountain Ash/Rowan) :red, orange or pink flushed white berries. The darker the fruits the more attractive they are to birds. Occasionally bring Spotted Flycatchers to the garden.
Taxus (Yew) : sparse red berries attract a wide range of birds. Attractive also to Badgers.(Note berries are poisonous to humans).
Trees with Seed Cones.
Alnus glutinosa (Alder), and
Betula (Birch) : seeds from cones enjoyed by Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Redpolls, Siskins and Tits.
Pinus sylvestris (Scotspine) : pine cones from which Crossbills and Great Spotted Woodpeckers prise seed.
Trees with Blossom.
Although not always welcome, Bullfinches strip the buds of fruit trees in late winter and early spring.
Crocus : yellow and orange flowers are attractive to Sparrows because they contain yellow pigment carotene to brighten up their plumage for the breeding season.
Echinops ritro (Globe Thistle) : seedheads are eaten by Goldfinches and flower heads attract insects.
Helianthus (Sunflower) : seed heads are eaten by Greenfinches. The nectar attracts a wide range of insects.
Lavandula (Lavender) : flowers going to seed are attractive to Goldfinches.
Primula (Polyanthus/Primrose) : yellow and orange flowers are attractive to Sparrows.
You can provide a haven for wild plants to exist in their own right recreating a wild meadow to attract insects which, in turn, attract birds and other wildlife. We sell nursery grown ‘wild’ plants throughout the year so that you can go wild in a corner of your garden.
Bird’s Foot Trefoil.
Common Poppy – seeds are favourite food of Finches.
Ox Eye Daisy.
Teasel – seed heads are a favourite food of Goldfinches.
This is one of the principal sources of food for birds who enjoy feeding on insects including-:
Ants eaten by Green Woodpeckers; Leatherjackets by Starlings; Snails by Songthrushes; Slugs by Toads and Worms by Blackbirds, Robins and Thrushes.
Cover and Protection.
By surrounding your garden by thick and often prickly hedging and dotting suitable shrubs around, you can provide safe nesting havens that are protected from maurauding cats and even the unwelcome attebtion of unfriendly humans.
The most successful shrubs and trees for this purpose include:-
Conifers especially chamaecyparis, Taxus (Yew) and Thuja Placata.
Hedera (Ivy) up a tree.
Ligustrum (Privet) especially for Blackbirds.
Salix caprea (Weeping Kilmarnock Willow).