Bird Study – Berries And Fruits For Birds

Many native shrubs and bushes grow berries that birds will come far to gather. Look over the following list which Frederick H. Kennard, of Massachusetts, has recommended, and see if you do not think many of them would be decorative additions to the cemetery. Surely some of them are equal in beauty to many of the shrubs usually planted, and they have the added value of furnishing birds with wholesome food. Here is a part of Mr. Kennard’s list: shad-bush, gray, silky, and red osier, cornel, dangleberry, huckleberry, inkberry, black alder, bayberry, shining, smooth, and staghorn sumachs, large-flowering currant, thimbleberry, blackberry, elder, snowberry, dwarf bilberry, blueberry, black haw, hobblebush, and arrow-wood. In the way of fruit-bearing shade trees he recommends sugar maple, flowering dog-wood, white and cockspur thorn, native red mulberry, tupelo, black cherry, choke cherry, and mountain ash. For the same purpose he especially recommends the planting of the following vines: Virginia creeper, bull-beaver, frost grape, and fox grape.

Such shrubs and vines are usually well stripped of their berries after the first heavy snowfall. That is the time to begin feeding the birds in earnest. The more food wisely placed where the birds can get it, the more birds you will surely have in the winter. Seeds and grain, with a judicious mixture of animal fat, form the best possible ration for the little feathered pilgrims. Rye, wheat, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn, mixed together in equal parts and accompanied by a liberal sprinkling of ground suet and beef scrap, make an excellent food for birds at this season. This should be placed on shelves attached to trees or buildings, or on oilcloth spread on the snow, or on the ground where the snow has been scraped away. On one occasion the writer attracted many birds by the simple method of providing them with finely pounded fresh beef bones. Furnishing birds with food in winter might well be made a pleasant and profitable duty of the children who attend Sunday-school in rural churches that have graveyards near.

Why should we not make a bird sanctuary of every city park and cemetery in America? Why leave these places to the Sparrows, the Grackles, and perhaps the Starlings, when Bluebirds and Thrushes are within hail, eager to come if the hand of invitation be extended?