Want Birdsong? Add These 5 Bird B&Bs in Time for Nesting Season.
Updated: January 22, 2020. By Cassy Aoyagi: Bringing birds and the healing effects of song to your garden is really as simple as 1, 2, 3. First, plant native trees. Then, plant other natives. Finally, add a water feature. Actually, 3 is a bonus that turns your birdie B&B into a high end resort!
Here are three LA native trees guaranteed to keep your garden (and your heart) singing:
California-native oak species are the preferred or sole habitat for countless native birds and fauna – the original hostesses with the mostesses. Without native oaks, migratory songbirds like warblers, vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, and grosbeaks shorten their California vacations or simply disappear.
It’s up to each of us to replace oak trees lost to development, drought and disease. As we do so, the dense canopies of oak will help LA recover our distinctive, shady sort of cool and give the birds a reason to sing.
Manzanita’s architectural branches make attractive, harmonious multi-family dwellings. It’s no wonder everyone from Western Scrub Jay, Black-headed Grosbeak, Mockingbird, and Fox Sparrow to Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds want to live here. Each can harvest its preferred diet without even leaving the nest!
Nectar-lovers delight in chandeliers of bell-like blooms. Berry and seed lovers, including humans, also get their fill. Just in case award-winning Manzanita recipes entice you to compete with the Fox Sparrows, may remind you of the rewards of sharing?
Western Redbud, Cercis Occidentalis
Lovebirds are sweet on these sweetheart-pink blooms! Cercis loves them back so much her leaves are heart shaped! Western Redbud is heaven for hummingbirds and Lesser Goldfinch, who enjoy Cercis seeds. She is a great way to add seasonal color and birdsong to small spaces, and – get this – you too can eat the blooms – delicious!
There are so many reasons to plant Elderberry. Here is my favorite. If you have oaks or sycamore nearby, you may be familiar with this tune!
In addition to birdsong, Elderberry provides a beautiful, lacy privacy screen full of delicate, dancing blooms. It also poses some challenge – like discovering the perfect recipe for Elderberry wine.
Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia (aka Christmas Berry)
Wouldn’t it be great if these bright red berries attracted love birds for Valentine’s Day? While Toyon is named Christmas Berry for a reason, we just may have bouquets of berries left for our sweethearts this year.
In any case, if you plant Toyon now you’ll be delighted to have him around at Thanksgiving. Cedar Waxwings will be tweeting their gratitude from the moment Toyon’s beautiful “Christmas” berries turn Valentine-red.
Sources and Resources
Want more information about California Native Trees? Check out:
- LA Native Tree Plant Palette
- Arbor Day Applause: Iconic LA Trees, Houzz
- Native Valley Oaks Help Visiting Birds, Study Shows, The Sacramento Bee
- Cercis Occidentalis, Plants for the Future
- Toyon and Cedar Waxwing: A Classic Pairing, Bay Nature
- The Best Trees for Privacy, Shade and More, Realtor.com
Curious about the benefits of birdsong? Check out:
- The Surprising Uses for Birdsong, BBC
- Can Birdsong Boost Your Brain, Mother Nature Network
- The Birds and the Trees, Huffington Post
- The Great Backyard Bird Count, Audubon Society