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Trees to attract birds

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What are the Best Trees to Attract Birds?

There is nothing more uplifting than the sound of birdsong. The dawn chorus that inspires your morning, and the chitter chatter that keeps your senses alive throughout the day. Watching birds going about their daily business from your window is nothing short of fascinating. Want to see more feathered friends in your garden? Read on to learn how to choose the best trees to attract birds.

There are so many trees that provide valuable food and shelter for wildlife. The more berry-bearing plants you can grow, the better as these provide an excellent source of nutrient-rich, antioxidant-packed food for birds, a more natural way to help them than by filling feeders with seed.

Let’s take a look at some of the most recommended species that are suitable for planting in a garden, and that will attract all sorts of species of birds. Remember that planting native and planting home grown are the right things to do.

Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Ripe, juicy red holly berries are a major winter food source for the likes of song thrushes, blackbirds, fieldfares and redwings.

Only female holly trees produce berries, and they will only do so if there is a male plant nearby for pollination.

Holly is ideal for the smaller garden, growing up to 15 metres with a spread of 4-8 metres. The tree provides shelter and protection for birds, and it is the food plant for first generation holly blue butterflies in the spring. Some 36 species of insect are known to feed on holly.

Holy Tree

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Rowan, or mountain ash, is a pretty tree with pinnate leaves. After its glorious spring blossom has faded, stunning bright pink or red berries appear in late summer.

Another tree that works well in the smaller garden, some species of rowan will grow to only four metres in height, whilst others will reach around eight metres. Some may grow taller though, so do be mindful of which species you are planting if you are limited on space.

The summer berries are much loved by robins blackbirds and thrushes, and you may even attract small flock of starlings. 160 species of insect have been recorded as feeding on the rowan tree, which is very attractive to aphids and sawflies, a staple for young birds.

Rowan tree for small gardens

Crab apple (Malus sylvestris)

The crab apple tree produces beautiful pink or white blossom during the spring, and makes a perfect addition to any garden and works well in a smaller space.

The autumn apple-like fruits, some green, some orange-red, are a favourite of birds, in particular robins, starlings, thrushes and greenfinches.

The blossom is also a major magnet for bees. Over 90 insect species call the crab apple home, providing an abundance of food for birds.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Hawthorn, otherwise known as the May tree, is one of the most wildlife-friendly native UK trees.

In the spring, the tree produces wonderfully sweet-scented white or pale pink flowers which later fade to produce clusters of shiny red hawberries in late summer through autumn, a favourite of blackbirds, redwings, fieldfares, chaffinches, starlings and greenfinches.

Many species of moth caterpillar feed on the leaves, and these caterpillars provide a rich food source for baby birds during the spring. Birds are also fans of the hawthorn tree because of its prickly nature and the fact it provides a sheltered haven.

Hawthorn blossom

Birch (Betula spp)

You’ll need a fairly large garden to accommodate a birch tree, as these can grow to around 25 metres in height with a spread of 12 metres.

The charming catkins form the spring blossom of the birch tree, which goes on to seed profusely in the autumn.

Some 521 species of invertebrate feed on the birch tree. These, combined with the prolific seeds, are very attractive to many species of birds, including more unusual types such as the willow warbler, the siskin and the tree pipit. Listen carefully and you may even hear the distinctive sound of the woodpecker, drilling away to tempt out those tasty insects.

Love your trees

Now you know some of the best trees to attract birds, it’s time to learn more about planting and caring for your trees.

Our guides to the benefits of planting trees and how to plant them and how to care for newly planted and sapling trees should prove useful.

If you feel you could benefit from professional help in caring for a tree in your garden, you are welcome to contact our experts for bespoke advice. After all, the healthier your trees, the more likely they are to go on attracting all those lovely birds into your garden.

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