Birds and Trees - A Lesson of Love
If only we ALL were this productive and helpful to the environment. When birds poop, it’s good for trees. There, we said it.
If you’re in the vicinity under a limb the bird is resting on when it lets it fly, you will not be thinking loving thoughts. But overall, we’re rooting for the symbiotic relationship between birds and trees.
Why are pooping birds good for trees? Because they eat fruits from trees, don’t digest the seeds, fly elsewhere and defecate. By virtue of this process, the seeds are far flung from the original bird feasting area. Besides the elimination method of transportation, the seeds sometimes get caught in a bird’s feathers and drops off in flight.
These are the seeds of future trees.
Nourishment, Defense and Pollination
In addition, bird piles inherently contain phosphates and calcium, which trees need to grow.
Birds also help trees by picking off harmful insects and pathogens. And they pollinate trees. For example, New Zealand native trees that benefit from bird pollination include flax, kowhai, northern and southern rata, and tree fuchsia.
It’s a two-way street: Birds drink water from tree leaves, bathe themselves by rubbing up against the wet leaves, take shelter, and more. So it makes sense to add bird-friendly trees in your yard. The birds find tasty food choices from among trees’ seeds, fruit, nuts, sap, nectar, leaves, pollen and insects.
Bird-Friendly Tree Tips
Here are some guidelines to adding and caring for trees in order to attract birds:
- Choose native trees, indigenous in your area.
- Remove trees that are unhealthy or are simply unpleasant and overgrown. Think evergreen shrubs trimmed into Bonsai-like yard decoration. Eliminate them. Sooner than later.
- Talk to a pro. Ask which types of trees attract the desired wildlife. An average yard is best served by one or two large trees, one or more groups of smaller trees and shrubs, and a clump of conifers that will provide winter shelter.
- Your homework includes researching how tall the trees will be when fully grown. Plant at least that distance from the house, the garage or the fence. The roots of a tree are usually the same size as the crown of the tree. Roots under your patio will eventually make the concrete or stone shift necessitating a repair. The same goes for the front walk. Determine the safest spot in which to plant them, and which types fit in with your climate, soil and available light. Also, take note of overhead wires and underground lines so that you can keep trees away from them. Even if the tree starts out substantially shorter than the overhead wires, it will grow up some day and then you’ll face a problem.
- Pick trees with blooming and fruit cycles that overlap. This will stretch out the fruit-bearing and bird-pleasing time frame over months. Consider adding deciduous, coniferous and fruit trees to attract the most birds.
- You want a variety of heights, thicknesses and shapes of trees, which provides many options to birds and their preferences. Birds thrive in such variety.
- Birds find buffets everywhere. Spruce and pine trees provide year-round shelter, and birds and small mammals enjoy the seed-filled cones. Cherry, chokecherry and plum trees attract songbirds, ground birds and mammals. Songbirds, waterfowl and small mammals enjoy willow seeds. Birch comes with white, black or tan bark, and is a food source for birds and small mammals.
- Follow instructions on how best to move trees from a nursery to your yard, and to water and anchor them to give them a strong foundation.
- Think about erecting a birdhouse or two, as they provide cover and protection from the elements. Birds seem to sense when there’s a vacancy and will move right into the neighborhood when a birdhouse is up for rent.
- Add a birdbath, pond or stream; birds need such a water source. They not only drink it, they also need to bathe in it all year. That fluffs their feathers, which keeps them warm.
- Consider buying and building a couple of starter-kit nests; the birds will add to them.
There are plenty of ways to make your yard a happy home for birds. In return, you’ll be rewarded with their sweet songs and knowing you’re contributing to the cycle of life.
Tree Planting Pros
Here at Donovan Arborists, we offer full tree and shrub planting, pruning, removal, transplanting and deep root fertilization services throughout the greater Denver Area. Taking a holistic approach to landscaping, our priority is creating beauty and sustainability in an environmentally responsible way. Call us today at 303.623.8733 (TREE).