As William Cullina mentioned in his article on avian plants, the sad reality is that songbirds are disappearing: “Since 1970, habitat loss, pesticides, and subsequent The decline in insect populations in North America has resulted in a 25% to 30% reduction in North American songbirds.”
But gardeners can help, and only need to buy new plants! By growing more plants that help support local bird populations, you can do your part. Look for ornithological plants in the West Hill below, and find more ornithological plants in William’s article, Native plants of birds.
1. “Foreman Red” Autumn Sage
name: sage “Furman’s Red”
size: 2 to 3 feet high and wide
situation: Full sun; dry to medium, well-drained soil, no fertilization
Native range: Western and central Texas, northern Mexico
If watching and attracting hummingbirds is important to you, then this is a must-have subshrub. In Boise, my plants begin to bloom as early as late May and will be displayed before the worst frost in November. Although there are many colors of autumn sage, my luckiest one is “Furman’s Red”. Obviously, the Hummer was attracted by the red color of its fire truck and the tubular flower throat that contained nectar. Planting clusters of the same species will provide them with abundant nectar in one place.
2. Net-leaf hackberry
name: Celtic Where. Mesh
size: 10 to 20 feet wide and 20 to 40 feet high
situation: Full sun to partial shade; average to dry, well-drained soil
Native range: The driest area in eastern Washington and Oregon, Idaho, south to northern Mexico
This is a tough shrub known to grow from rocky outcrops after scorching wildfires. The tailed pigeon, the Steller jay, the northern flicker, the American robin, the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, the American crow and the silk sparrow are just a few birds that rely on their long-lasting stone fruits. The stone fruits can be green, orange or red. . My professor of botany called the insect galls on its leathery leaves “wild turkey burritos.” Netleaf hackberry provides cover for nesting sites for quails and Swainson’s eagles, Brock orioles, pigeons, and even the occasional hummingbirds (pictured).
3. Bitter cherry
size: 20 to 40 feet high and wide
situation: Full sun to partial shade; moist soil
Native range: The northernmost point of British Columbia, south to New Mexico
Bitter cherry is a small deciduous shrub that can grow to 40 feet tall and wide under ideal conditions. It is usually spread through bushes created by runners, providing shelter and nesting places for birds and small mammals. Spring flowers are a source of nectar for hummingbirds and bees, and as many as 150 species of caterpillars and insects live on bushes, which provide much-needed food for wild birds. Stone fruits are very bitter, but cedar waxwings, thrushes, woodpeckers, sparrows, bluebirds, tanagers, and oriole will feed on them. Bitter cherries are particularly important as a habitat and escape paradise for the tip-tailed grouse.
4. Heritage River Birch
name: Black birch ‘Curry’
size: 40 to 70 feet high and 40 to 60 feet wide
situation: Full sun to partial shade; average to wet soil
Native range: Eastern United States
This shade tree is well-loved for its beautiful figure and beautiful peeling, and is widely used throughout the United States. It can support more than 400 caterpillars and other insects, which are a key ingredient in the diet of young birds.In his book Bring nature home, Doug Tallamy listed river birch as one of the top five trees that attract wild animals. When tits, sparrows, wild turkeys, grouses and finches feed on seeds, others are attracted to sap. Titmouses, jays, juncos, northern flashes, and pine siskins may nest on its branches. Additional watering may be required in hot areas of the Rocky Mountains.
Mary Ann Newcomer (Mary Ann Newcomer) is a native of Idaho. She gardens, scouts gardens and writes articles about gardening at Intermountain West.