Category Archives: Bird Friendly Plants

Evening Primrose for goldfinches

Evening primrose for Goldfinches.

Evening Primrose is a really good plant for wildlife. 

Buy a small package of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) seeds. 

Birds that eat evening primrose seeds are-

  • Greenfinches
  • Goldfinches
  • Siskins

  The first year there are green leaves which change colour in the Autumn.

In the following Spring stems grow to four feet (or more).  There are leaves, then large buds that open in the evening from the beginning of July.  They open until the frosts arrive.

If the plants are left lots of seeds are produced in September.  The pods at the bottom ripen.  This is when the goldfinches arrive.

There would be plents of seeds for many goldfinches until December / January time. 

This is a bienniel plant so it has to be sown for two years in succession.

After that the falling seeds will give enough plants to grow for the following years.

Birds using herbal remedies to survive

Herbs and Birds

We all know how beneficial herbs are to humans, but it is possible that birds use herbs to protect their nests and their young? 

Three years ago in New Orleans –  Ohio Wesleyan University  did a survey that suggested birds selected nesting material with antimicrobial properties.

  “If the fresh herbs and plant materials, that parent birds bring to their nests, have a sufficient concentration of these chemicals, they could protect the nestlings from harmful bacteria and infection.

“By practicing medical botany, parent birds exercise effective home nest security and protect their offspring from select biodegrading microbes that affect the health of their young

“Results of tests showed that several types of plant materials ….. inhibited the growth of a number of harmful bacteria. “

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Taken from material provided by American Society for Microbiology.
 
  • Could our British birds, such as sparrows,   have an inherited knowledge of medical botany? 
  • Could sparrows know what  herbs and plants to use to keep their nests clear of harmful microbes and bacteria that could kill their young?
  • Do all birds have  this inherited knowledge of what plants and herbs to use to keep their nests clear of bacteria?

How amazing if this is so!  It gives all birds a knowledge and a kind of wisdom that I never thought they could possess. 

Could it be that my garden birds know more than me about the useful properties of herbs?!

It could explain, in part, why some birds have bad breeding seasons.   It could be possible that (at nest building time) there is a lack of the herb or plant that would keep the nest free of bacteria.  This would mean that bacteria could breed freely and could perhaps kill the newly hatched chick.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nature is amazing.   Birds are amazing.

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Kate Vincent has done a really detailed study about the decline in sparrow numbers.  Could the fact that sparrows cannot keep their nests free from bacteria be one reason they are declining?

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE DECLINE IN SPARROWS

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A thought for the day:  Another survey done in Australia seems to show that crocodiles and birds have something in common.  A  pigeon and a crocodile have been shown to both use the sun, stars and the earth’s magnetic field to get home!  Maybe some of our knowledge is inherent in every living thing

 Have a good day
 
 
 
 

Bird Food from a Plant

My small garden bush is leafless now, but it still gives birds shelter from the wind and rain .  I also use it for sheltering the bird food from the wind and rain as well

Every year the bush gives fruit for me and the birds.

Here is a photo taken last July.  This July it will fruit again as it does every year.

Fresh blackcurrants every year

 The bush is leafless now but I know it will spring into life again and in a few months will be full of berries.

Every year this old bush spring back into life

Every year this old bush spring back into life

 When it’s cold and windy it’s  nice to look at photos of a fresh summers day isn’t it.

Think about planting flowers, shrubs or plants that will attract birds.  Look at my Bird Friendly Plant list.   There are many more plants that attract birds – ask if you want to.

Plant information

If you are interested in finding out more about Bird Friendly Plants take a look below –

Hello Trisha,

Many thanks for your e-mail.
Yes, you are correct, the bushes/hedges of Elder, Blackthorn and Hawthorn are the same as trees. The main difference being that the trees are turned into hedges if the trees are clipped and pruned. If the plants are left to grow naturally, they will be classed as trees. If you need any further info, please get in touch, we are more than happy to help.
I received the above information from Trees2mydoor.  They have a lot of knowledge and are helpful.  Take a look –

Mistle Thrush and Mistletoe

Birds and Plants.  Maybe you can’t have one without the other

A mistle thrush will feed on the flesh of the white mistletoe berries, which is very sticky 

Mistletoe for Mistle Thrushes

Mistletoe for Mistle Thrushes

  • After feeding on the mistletoe the mistle thrush tries to clean its beak on a branch
  • It does this to try to get rid of the stickyness of its beak.
  • When it does this the mistletoe sticks to the branch and grows into misltetoe.

Apple and Hawthorn are common trees and bushes were mistletoe grows.

So mistle thrushes play an important part in spreadinga mistletoe and misltetoe plays and important part in feeding misle thrushes.

 

Mistle Thrush in an English Garden

Mistle Thrush in an English Garden

Hedges for Birds

English Hawthorn Hedge

English Hawthorn Hedge

plant a hedge, feed a bird.

Below is some bright, cheerful wild hawthorn berries, ripe and ready for birds to eat.

wild hawthorn berry winter

 

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Below is a bramble / blackberry bush

Brambles for birds

Brambles for birds

 with a few brambles left over for us hopeully!

Below is a bramble / blackberry bush with fruit that are nearly ready

Blackberries for birds

Blackberries for birds

 

Plants like these brighten up the countryside and could brighten up our gardens, provide fruit for ourselves and provide food and nesting sites for birds.

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I have been getting confused about when a bush turns into a tree!  I emailed Trees2mydoor and got this reply –

Hello Trisha,   Many thanks for your e-mail.

Yes, you are correct, the bushes/hedges of Elder, Blackthorn and Hawthorn are the same as trees. The main difference being that the trees are turned into hedges if the trees are clipped and pruned.
If the plants are left to grow naturally, they will be classed as trees.
If you need any further info, please get in touch, we are more than happy to help.   Regards
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In the English countryside I have seen really big hawthorn, elderberry and other bushes as big as trees, yet to me they are hedges.  So the info from trees2mydoor explains a lot.
Take a look  –

Hawthorn – Bird Friendly

Many native birds get food and shelter  and protection from a hawthorn hedging

Is hawthorn a tree, hedge or a bush?  Whatever it is – it is a natural British plant that gives –

  • shelter and safety – the prickly spikes on the branches mean that predators such as sparrowhawks can’t get inside the bush. Birds of prey cannot risk tearing their feathers on the sharp thorns of the hawthorn hedge

  • nesting sites

  • food for birds from the berries that grow on the bush

The other week I saw a sparrowhawk with a blackbird in it’s talons.  It had flown out of a laurel hedge. 

If it had been a hawthorn hedge the sparrowhawk would not have gone inside as they cannot risk tearing their feathers.  If a sparrowhawk damages its feathers it cannot hunt or feed.

As well as the laurel hedge we also have a lot of old hawthorn hedges / bushes / trees nearby that birds can shelter in.  This hawthorn hedge has been here for years.  Year after year the hawthorn gives nesting, shelter and food to a lot of birds.  The hawthorn is often full of birdsong.

Click here to read about the sparrowhawk in the garden

Below is a photograph that I took of a hawthorn bush which is growing near our garden.  It is part of the British countryside and hawthorn is a really bird friendly bush / hedge / tree!

If you plant one hawthorn plant  it will enhance your garden and help you make a part of your garden into a bird friendly garden corner

 

Hawthorn Hedge gives food and shelter to birds

Hawthorn Hedge gives food and shelter to birds

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO GET A HAWTHORN DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR