Birds of a Feather

Winter interest in a garden not only adds beauty to your landscape, but can also attract fun wildlife. Remember the fun bird seed wreaths we made this past fall? It’s fun to attract birds to your landscape. But, did you know, some birds don’t like to eat birdseed?


Did you know, Robins will Not take birdseed?  But, they are such a fun bird to have around in your landscape!

Robins learn at an early age that fruit grows on trees and shrubs. What better way to attract them to your landscape, than to plant shrubs and trees that have winter fruit! It will give beautiful winter interest to your landscape AND feed the birds!

The vast majority of Robins do move south for the winter, however, did you know, some stick around. For the robins that do stay, fruit is their winter food source. If they have a food source in your yard, guess where they are more likely to build their nests?

Every year we enjoy a couple of Robin’s nests in our yard! It’s been so fun watching them build their nests, sit on their eggs, feed their young, and then see them teach their baby birds to fly!

Ok, back to food sources. As the ground begins to thaw in the spring, they will switch to earthworms and insects. What about the flocks of birds that start arriving BEFORE the snow finishes melting and the ground thaws?

Well, let me introduce you to one possible answer.

A few years ago, we planted 4 gorgeous Malus ‘Centzam’ centurions {crapabbble}. I know, I know, you’ve heard all sorts of dreadful stories about crabapples! How they have messy fruit that drops in your yard and on sidewalks! Well, if that is the story you’ve been told, forget it! There are sooooo many new wonderful varieties of Crabs out there! Some that are fruitless, some with very small fruits and others that have persistent fruit!

This picture below is one of the crabs from our yard last April in full bloom. The Malus ‘Centzam’ centurion has small fruit that persists. This means it holds onto its fruit through winter. Deer and birds usually take care of all our fruit. But, if any fruit happens to escape being eaten, when the tree begins to bud in early spring, it falls to the ground and gets mixed in as good organic matter.


Crabs are such beautiful specimen trees!
These gorgeous blossoms are followed by bright red crabapples (to 1/2” diameter) that mature in fall. The beautiful red fruit generally persists into winter giving interest and food for the birds! An all in one tree! The Malus centurion gives beauty, shade, interest and then food!

This weekend we were making breakfast and happened to look outside and noticed HUNDREDS of hungry Robins whom perhaps just arrived a bit early on the dawn of spring renewal, & were feasting upon the berries that clung to our 4 Malus trees in our front yard! &, you know what? They picked them clean!



We ran to get the camera and binoculars and had such a fun time watching them with our daughter! After the trees where empty, they found a Juniper bush in our backyard loaded with berries.


Today, when driving my daughter to school, we saw the flock in a deserted lot with a wild apple tree that still had the remains of unpicked apples. The snow was falling heavily, but the birds happily sang and ate bits of apples left over from last fall! Thank goodness for winter fruits and berries to feed the hungry Robins until the snow melts!


So, what are you going to plant in your landscape to add winter interest and beauty to attract wildlife?


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