Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pining for Winter

Anyone who might doubt the need for evergreen trees in a winter landscape as part of a bird habitat need only to watch my trees on any chilly day. My house sparrows flit back and forth from the feeders to their favorite winter perches, which include a dwarf mugo and two Colorado blue spruces, and at times it can look like the trees are strung with feathered ornaments. On a stormy day, they will duck deeper into the branches, and a whole flock of small birds may be sheltering in quite a small tree.

As I continue planning my landscaping, I intend to add more pines. They're relatively hardy trees and provide fantastic cover, not to mention being attractive in all seasons. Birds can nest in them, some birds will eat the seeds, and they don't require too much maintenance (and no raking for the short-needled varieties!). At this time of year, they provide critical shelter, so long as you do continue to care for the smaller varieties. Just today - as I was refilling my front yard bird feeders - I took some of the iced over snow off the mugo so it would straighten up, fluff out, and be better shelter than an icy pancake. Larger pines and mature trees, of course, don't need that type of quick care and are perfectly usable even in the harshest winter weather or deepest snowfall.

For now, I'm happy that my pine trees can entice my shivering flock to safer shelter, and they're welcome to decorate it anytime.

1 comment:

ABranch said...

Love the photo. It reminds me of a willow bush at my old home. The house sparrows loved in winter. They would cover it to the point it was almost creepy so we called it "the rats of Nimh bush" bush.