Feeding the Birds Naturally

November 23, 2014

Keeping the backyard birds fed comes naturally when you plant shrubs that produce edible berries.  Here are a few options to consider.


Winterberry is a deciduous shrub growing to 6-15 feet tall and often as wide. It develops a rounded habit through suckering, eventually growing into a sizeable colony of upright stems. The stems tend to be dark brown and often develop a pleasing gray sheen. The 3 inch long, elliptic, toothed, and pointed leaves vary from light to dark green, taking a yellow hue in autumn. Insignificant flowers appear in May – June and are followed by bright red berries in late summer. The berries, for which the common name was derived, remain after leaf fall and persist into the winter months to provide food for wildlife. Winterberry prefers evenly moist, acid soils in full sun to partial shade.

PHOTO SOURCE:  http://www.field-notebook.com/?p=803


Red Twig Dogwoods are the most popular Dogwood shrubs. They show off brightly colored decorative bark in winter when many other plants are resting. Twig color varies from dark maroon to coral to yellow depending on species and variety.   Small white flowers occur in clusters in spring followed by white to blue fruit in late summer.  They are fast growers to 8-12’ tall & wide with dense branching and foliage. A few lower-growing and dwarf forms are available as well. Most grow very fast, are very tough, adapting to many different soils and light conditions and withstanding temperatures as low as -50 degrees.

PHOTO SOURCE:  http://montananaturalist.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html


Nannyberry (Viburnum Lentago), also known as Sheepberry or Sweet Viburnum, is shade-tolerant species commonly used as shrub borders, tall barriers, hedges, and windbreaks. It provides seasonal displays of flowers, fruits, and fall leaf color and the fruit are eaten by many species of birds and wildlife.  It is easily transplanted and established and can be propagated by cuttings. Although the growth habit is primarily a multi-stemmed shrub, it can be maintained as a small tree by pruning stems and removing basal suckers.

PHOTO SOURCE:  http://www.onlyfoods.net/nannyberry-viburnum-lentago.html

To learn more about gardening for the birds check out this guide HERE


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