do birds eat euonymus berries

Bullace – M. D. Smith Our Wild Learning Officer, Cathy Smith, explores the bounty and wonder of winter berries.

Frosted and lit by glancing winter sun, berries still hang like tiny red baubles in the hedges and gardens. It is fascinating to observe which remain in mid-winter and which birds select the remainder of the pickings.

As we take stock of our gardens and plan for the new gardening year, it is worth considering adding fruiting trees and shrubs to your wish list. A wander past neighbouring gardens provides new inspiration and one of the best ways of understanding what will thrive in your local conditions. Bare-rooted trees and hedging plants sold in the winter can be purchased at a fraction of the price of their container-grown counterparts and give a head start to establish before any spring or summer drought.

There are so many more candidates for the wildlife berry garden. In his latest book ‘The Garden Jungle’, Dave Goulson includes his favourites, he reminds us that some of these plants are also attractive to pollinators or support leaf eating invertebrates. He has assembled the list simply by observing his own garden, something many of us can do. There is so much more to learn by quietly watching to see which delectable delights bring wildlife visitors flocking to our gardens, time well spent.

There is a long list of berry-bearing options for gardeners, British Trust for Ornithology include one on their website. When stuck for choice, we recommend starting with the native varieties or select cultivated varieties with red rather than yellow or white berries.

Even this is not totally reliable everywhere. The native plant – guelder rose -viburnum opulus, despite having the most attractive translucent red berries, curiously is not the most popular food for birds in my garden. But elsewhere, blackbird, bullfinch and mistle thrush enjoy them. The flowers are great for insects.

Spindle, Euonymus europaeus, has the most eye-catching yet poisonous pink fruits with bright orange seeds. The fleshy seed coverings, or arils, are high energy morsels particularly popular with robins as well as blackbirds and blackcaps. If you want to make a feature of it, there are garden varieties such as E. europaeus red cascade but the native variety is hard to beat, guaranteed to stop you in your tracks as you walk along the farm trails at our Foxburrow Farm reserve. If you grow broad beans, you might want to consider planting spindle a distance from your vegetable patch as it can host the black bean aphid. Dont let that put you off those, its a fabulous little tree.

Where I live (writing in early January) the rose hips remain in the hedges – maybe the blackbirds in my garden are waiting for the frosts to soften them a little more. Dog roses scramble through a mixed native hedge creating a safe haven for nesting and wintering birds, with delicate pink flowers in the spring followed by red hips. Often cited as a good candidate for garden hedges, the garden variety Rosa rugosa, although laden with hips, is now listed as an invasive plant so best avoided. Several varieties of Cotoneaster, including C. horizonatalis have the same over-zealous nature.

Tradition has it that holly berries are used in seasonal decorations, but this year as in many previous years, the birds have taken every last one before I get to them. This year it was a flock of fieldfares enjoying the feast, whilst others report redwings enjoying them. The fieldfares also stripped the bullaces this autumn, yet last winter they held off until March to gorge themselves, so fruit selection doesn’t seem to be entirely consistent. Not with me, anyway!

Yew berries have also disappeared in my garden, but I missed noticing by whom. Famously poisonous, yew berries take some careful handling, greenfinches have worked it out, carefully removing the seed coating before benefiting from the seeds within.

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna often constitutes half of the tree plants in mixed planted hedge, its spiny thorns meshing together to form a stock-proof hedge. A study published by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology clearly demonstrated the additional wildlife value of reducing the frequency of cutting hedges to every 3 years, with hawthorn and blackthorn producing 2½ times more blossom. Cutting back just 10cm less than in the previous year doubled the berry production. It is difficult to let my front hedge sprawl but instead I have left a hawthorn tree as a standard within the hedge line in my back garden. An interesting association with hawthorn is the tree bumble bee, Bombus hypnorum. First recorded in England in 2001 it has shown a preference for foraging amongst the blossom of hawthorn and blackthorn, and shows a strong urban association. It is also the bumble bee you are most likely to unexpectedly find in bird boxes. Simply to hear your hawthorn hum with bees in the spring makes it worth letting your hawthorn go a little wild.

Here in my garden, the crab apple, Malus sylvestris fruits are still hanging on resiliently. From past experience it isn’t until the frosts descend that the blackbirds and fieldfares move in and when they do, they do so in earnest, well worth the wait. Greenfinch, robins and starlings have all been reported making use of this food supply. Crab apples can stand aloft within a hedge line but there are many good garden varieties which can planted as focal points. Red sentinel is sometimes referred to as a living bird table due to its prolific fruiting. For smaller gardens seek out some of the more compact varieties such as aptly named Jelly King which we chose for the barn garden at Foxburrow Farm, with the added prospect of making crab apple jelly.

There are so many more candidates for the wildlife berry garden and so much more to learn by quietly watching to see which delectable delights bring wildlife visitors flocking to our gardens, time well spent.

It’s a great use of time to observe which tasty treats attract wildlife visitors to our gardens in peace and quiet. There are a ton more options for the wildlife berry garden.

With its sharp thorns intertwining to create a hedge that is impenetrable by stock, hawthorn, or Crataegus monogyna, frequently makes up half of the tree plants in mixed planted hedges. Reducing hedge cutting frequency to every three years has significant wildlife benefits, as evidenced by a study published by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Blackthorn and hawthorn produce twice as much blossom. Removing only 10cm more than the previous year resulted in a doubling of the berry yield. Since it is hard to let my front hedge sprawl, I have left a hawthorn tree as a standard within my back garden’s hedge line. An intriguing connection to hawthorn is the Bombus hypnorum, or tree bumble bee. When it was first discovered in England in 2001, it demonstrated a strong association with cities and a preference for foraging among hawthorn and blackthorn blossoms. Additionally, bird boxes are probably where you will unintentionally find bumblebees the most. Letting your hawthorn go a little wild is worth it just to hear your hawthorn hum with bees in the spring.

Berries still dangle in the hedges and gardens like little red baubles, frosty and illuminated by the glancing winter sun. Seeing which birds survive into mid-winter and which ones choose the leftover food is fascinating.

The rose hips are still in the hedges where I live (it’s early January), so perhaps the blackbirds in my garden are just waiting for the frost to soften them a bit more. A safe haven for nesting and wintering birds is created by dog roses, which scramble through a mixed native hedge. Delicate pink flowers bloom in the spring, followed by red hips. Rosa rugosa, a garden variety that is frequently recommended for garden hedges but is now considered an invasive plant that should be avoided despite being loaded with hips Several varieties of Cotoneaster, including C. horizonatalis have the same over-zealous nature.

Euonymus europaeus, the spindle, has the most strikingly beautiful but deadly pink fruits with vivid orange seeds. High-energy morsels known as arils, or fleshy seed coverings, are especially well-liked by robins, blackbirds, and blackcaps. If you’d like to highlight it, there are garden varieties like E While strolling along the farm trails at our Foxburrow Farm reserve, you will undoubtedly be stopped in your tracks by the native variety of Eucalyptus red cascade. Consider planting spindle away from your vegetable patch if you grow broad beans, as it can serve as a host for the black bean aphid. That shouldn’t deter you from those; it’s a fantastic little tree.

The crab apple tree is the most obvious to plant; there are numerous varieties available, including

Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’ is a red-berried shrub with a maximum height of 2 meters and a width of 2 meters. We have one in our garden, and the birds quickly devour the berries.

Sunflowers are very colorful and cheerful plants that, despite not being berries, provide valuable food for insects during their flowering season. When their seeds are ready to be harvested, finches also enjoy sunflowers. It’s a win-win. There are new, shorter varieties available, like the Valentine, which is a pale lemon color and can be purchased from my online shop.

Steer clear of turkey fat since it coats birds’ feathers and keeps them from flying, unlike suet and lard. It can also spread disease. Additionally, since raisins and sultanas are toxic to dogs, you should avoid using them. Remember that mealworms are toxic to hedgehogs, so if you hang fat balls in the winter, when they are hibernating, do not add these.

The spindle tree, Euonymus europaeus, is a magnificent sight in the fall when its leaves turn a vivid red color. Plant it in a sunny location if possible, as it will look gorgeous there. It bears beautiful, winged fruit that is orange-pink and stays long after the leaves have fallen. Which makes it perfect for the birds too. This variety grows to around 3m tall and 2. 5m wide.

FAQ

Do birds like Euonymus?

Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) These flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds and insects, attracting other birds that feed on them, such as warblers and sparrows. The shrub also produces small red fruits, a valuable food source for birds like robins, cedar waxwings, and bluebirds.

Do birds eat bush berries?

Berries are an important winter food source for animals. This is especially true for songbirds. While some birds like cedar waxwings eat fruit all year long, other birds like black-capped chickadees and bluebirds primarily eat fruit in colder weather when their insect prey is unavailable.

Which birds eat viburnum berries?

Many birds love munching on Blackhaw Viburnum berries, including the Wood Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher and Cedar Waxwing.

What is the best bush to attract birds?

Sumac is a wonderful shrub with red fall leaves and clusters of red fruits which attract many birds, including bluebirds, thrushes, catbirds, cardinals, chickadees, robins, woodpeckers, and others. Holly is a hardy deciduous shrub with red berries that are highly valued by winter birds.