A large part of the attraction of any garden over and above the trees, shrubs and flowers is the presence of wildlife. In particular wild birds and butterflies can provide endless hours of enjoyment. While it is necessary to provide food in the winter months, growing the right plants can provide berries and other nutrients as well as shelter for the birds. I found an article by Stephen Westcott-Gratton over on the Canadian Gardening website in which he explains what you need and lists the thirty-eight trees, shrubs and flowers which will attract the birds.
Attracting birds should be every gardener?s goal: in addition to their cheerful songs, fanciful flight and colourful feathers, birds more than earn their keep by consuming insect pests and are integral to any healthy ecosystem.
Owing to their high metabolic rate, birds are preoccupied with the pursuit of food, but they also require suitable trees for nesting sites, a water source, an open area (usually lawn) and shrubs to provide cover from predators ?particularly cats.
Different birds, whether migratory or year-round residents, prefer different habitats: A grove of several tall trees will attract warblers, thrushes and woodpeckers; pastures and fields will bring meadowlarks, field sparrows, goldfinches and quails; while bluebirds, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers will look for broken or hollow branches as nesting places.
Many songbird species, such as robins, cardinals, phoebes, wrens and sparrows, are happy to live close to our homes, raising their families alongside our own, especially if we provide the requisite vegetation.
Sundry trees, shrubs, vines and flowers provide seed and fruit for birds throughout the year in addition to cover and shelter. For winter shelter, large evergreens are particularly vital, and should be a primary element of any bird-friendly garden. A diverse mix of different woody species of varying heights will offer the broadest range of food and shelter, therefore attracting the widest variety of birds.
It?s important to remember that woody plants valued for retaining their ornamental berries throughout winter (such as common winterberry) are not significant food sources for wildlife. Some trees (beech and pine, for example) contain both native and non-native species; naturally, birds prefer the species with which they evolved, so the best success will be achieved using native specimens.
12 trees that provide plentiful fruit, seed and shelter for birds:
- FIR (Abies spp. and cvs.)
- ALDER (Alnus spp. and cvs.)
- SERVICEBERRY (Amelanchier spp. and cvs.)
- BIRCH (Betula spp. and cvs.)
- HACKBERRY (Celtis spp. and cvs.)
- DOGWOOD (Cornus spp. and cvs.)
- HAWTHORN (Crat?gus spp. and cvs.)
- BEECH (Fagus spp. and cvs.)
- LARCH (Larix spp. and cvs.)
- SPRUCE (Picea spp. and cvs.)
- PINE (Pinus spp. and cvs.)
- OAK (Quercus spp. and cvs.)
See more at Canadian Gardening