Tree Time – Attracting song birds to your yard
All birds need three things: shelter, food and water.
In the spring when the young are hatching, food becomes critical to feed the baby birds. Song birds are feeding their young with crop of new larva, mostly caterpillars.
Two things limit the available supply of caterpillars; lawns and none native trees and shrubs.
As far as a song bird is concerned, a lawn is a desert. Food for baby birds cannot be found on a lawn. Song birds have become accustomed over thousands of years to look to certain trees and shrubs for their supply of caterpillars. Add a non-native tree or shrub and the song bird ignores it.
The song bird has no knowledge of the non-native tree or shrub even though the non-native plant may be teaming with caterpillars.
Exceptions exist to every truism, hummingbirds not only come to a non-native item, the item is plastic. The St. Paul Audubon society has gathered a list of trees and shrubs which have the greatest menu of insects for feeding baby birds. I have listed the plant and the number of larval species available.
Bur Oak – 518, White Oak – 518, Black Cherry – 429, Red Maple – 287, Sugar Maple – 287, White Pine – 191, Hackberry – 41, Chokecherry – 429, Fireberry Hawthorn – 150, American Hazelnut – 124, Serviceberry – 119, Pagoda Dogwood – 115, Re-osier Dogwood – 115, Nannyberry – 97.
And here I was growing my Hazelnut so I could eat the nuts!
By Dave Daubert, a Carver Scott Master Gardener.