We are just finishing a huge excavation on my property and are looking to plant some native trees and shrubs. I'm hoping to get some advice from people more knowledgeable than me about native trees, plants, and shrubs that are great for birds so I can give the landscaper some direction.
Randy, sorry not to reply sooner on a topic I enjoy! Further to our chat during our birding outing:
-Mountain Ash. There's a few kinds but Sitka Mountain Ash is the native one that the robins and waxwings will love. -Black Hawthorn. Nasty spines but the berries are popular plus it's good cover for the birds -Pacific Crab Apple. A good one for the more moist parts of your property. If you have Ruffed Grouse around they'll love it along with other species. The flowers in the spring are enjoyed by hummingbirds and Denis always gets Calliope Hummingbirds at his crab apples in the spring. -Paper Birch also likes wetter areas and the seeds appreciated by siskins etc. Of course provides good foraging habitat for warblers etc as will all the trees -Red Alder same as Birch and grows quickly and in varied soils -Bitter Cherry has nice fruits and nice flowers in the spring -Cascara is a nice native tree that does not get huge or wide and may work well in some areas where a tree is desired but not the height or width that many will get to. -Black Cottonwood grows like a weed and in later years provides great cavity nesting habitat as limbs snap off. But because of this reason not a great tree for near the house but a better one for the birding trail out back. -Some evergreens here and there for cover. Red Ceder, Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock all good choices.
Shrubs -Red flowering current. Make sure you have a few of these. Grows about 6' high or more if you let it but easily cut into a more respectable shrub. Hummingbirds love it and it's an early spring bloomer. -Salmonberry. Good border species that also blooms early and hummingbirds like it. Good habitat too -Thimbleberry. Rufous Hummingbirds seem to like nesting in them -Black Twinberry. The berries popular with waxwings, thrushes etc and will do well in part shade and wetter areas if needed -Pacific Ninebark. Great for honeybees and good habitat -Trumpet Honeysuckle isnt really a shrub but will climb around like the vine it sort of is and the hummingbirds like it -Oceanspray. Warblers et al seem to enjoy foraging in it and it's a nice flowering shrub for the yard -Snowberry seems to attract vireos to eat the white berries. Provides habitat and the flowers liked by the bees and bumblebees -Hardhack is a dedicated riparian plant that does well near water and would be good at your pond maybe with crab apple behind it -Red elderberry. This is almost a small tree but popular with fruit-eating birds.
A good start that maybe others can add to. If you like, I'll come by and share some ideas for the cost of a cup of David's Tea which is cheaper than the landscaper!
Gord Fraser Valley Birding Administrator eBird Regional Editor (Fraser Valley)
Post by nickinthegarden on Sept 5, 2017 16:34:54 GMT -8
Gord gave you a great list but you might take a pass on the Hawthorne, they do better in a year round drier climate, here they tend to get fungus problems. The wild roses, Rosa Rugosa are good too, the rose hips tend to be the last thing the birds eat but they are happy to get them and they do attract hummers while in bloom, they also provide great cover for birds and small mammals. The Big Leaf Maples and Cottonwoods are great trees for wild life but they get massive and need to be planted a good distant away from buildings as they do drop branches in time. Consider some of the willows if you have a wet area, early in the spring they are very popular with warblers because they tend to be buggy. There is a period of time in the spring when you want to find warblers and they will be in the willows if they are around at all. The most common one you will see are Pacific Willows but there are more bush like cultivars available. You might consider some Hazelnut trees, the Steller's Jays love the nuts and will strip them bare. There is a big variety of pond plants available but maintaining a pond without it getting choked out is skill in itself. That you might want to talk to a local specialist about. If the main idea is to feed the birds through the year then you need plants that bloom very early like the flowering currents, mahonnia, and forsythia. The crabapples are great trees to have as the birds tend to go after the fruit late in the year. It is all a question of what is available at this time of year, better to have them planted in the fall so any watering that needs to be done will be minimal and hope for a wet spring and a damp summer. Expect a certain amount of failure of these plants for some reason I see more failed wild planting than I do of cultivated plants. Just because it is wild does not mean it needs no care. Good luck!