That would be the Blackbird, on the Cotoneaster tree with a berry its mouth! I’ve spent ages trying to catch a berry in the mouth like this. Pity the light was poor but I’m still pleased with my capture.
Who eats the berries in your garden? Perhaps, like me, you have planted especially to feed the birds. What shrubs and trees would you recommend for attracting/feeding birds at this time of year?
Here in my small garden the only berries I have for the birds (at the moment) are on a fairly small tree. The RSPB chat about Birds and Berries here where they go on to say:
“The winter is a good time to consider planting fruit and berry bearing trees or bushes in the garden. As well as the many native berry-bearing species (including rowan, holly, whitebeam, spindle, dog rose, guelder rose, elder, hawthorn, honeysuckle and ivy), attractive shrubs like cotoneaster, pyracantha and berberis are especially good for a wide range of birds.
Berry and fruit bearing trees provide food for a range of insects and animals, too: hedgehogs, badgers, mice, squirrels and even foxes will all happily feed on them. All sorts of fruit are attractive to insects, and if you leave them where they fall in the late summer and autumn they will attract numerous butterflies to their syrupy goodness.
Fallen fruit can also provide birds with a cold-weather treat: pop some in the freezer, and save it for the winter bird table.”
Now, that’s interesting… I didn’t know hedgehogs would eat berries too. At the moment, we’ve a regular young hedgehog feeding up on crushed unsalted peanuts, dried mealworms and sunflower hearts. I am thrilled to be able to help it just now.
I’ve had my night cam out watching in the evening after seeing two hedgehogs visiting the ground bird feeders last week. That was a surprise sighting. I guess they are taking advantage of the late feeding opportunities to fuel their winter hibernation. Soon our temps will drop and we won’t see them again until Spring.
I planted the ivy Sulphur Heart (shown above) on a trellis along one length. I planted it purely as a wind break and sun shelter to be completely honest. I do prune it to encourage growth and keep it as a neat backdrop for the plants in the border in front of it. I was surprised when I started to see the odd looking ball shaped flowers it had.
As the Ivy ‘took hold’ on my pergola, pruning the higher growth became difficult and as a result more flowers were beginning to cover the top. Getting photos became tricky too but as I now know black berries may follow the flowers I am very keen to see them.
Back at the beginning of the month, another Ivy (shown above) was already ahead of the Sulphur Heart and fully in flower. This was a small, shiny dark leafed common ground covering one that I spotted growing (not planted by me) under my hedge. I pulled pieces up and started training it up the pillars of my Pergola. Gosh… it has grown some since and has had many flowers this year.
Taking a look out a bedroom window I could see the extent of flower coverage after spotting large numbers of insects visiting one sunny, blue sky day at the beginning of the month.
I caught some video footage from the ground level with my camera strongly tilted back on my tripod. I hoped we’d get another day like this where I would get up on a ladder with my video camera to get a closer look at the variety of insects that were feeding there. We didn’t… but the video below has caught enough of the feeding frenzy on the ivy flowers…
It’s wild, wet and windy here just now so maybe I’ll just lean out an upstairs window again to see if we have berries yet. If we do there will be lots and of great interest to the birds in the coming months. I’ll try to get up a ladder to get a closer look before we get snow and ice.
Now, I wonder if my garden birds will actually eat the ivy berries. Has anyone seen them do this? If so, which birds? I’m guessing it would be the Blackbirds and Thrushes 🙂
This post was written and published by Shirley at shirls gardenwatch in November 2011.