PLANTINGS FOR WILDLIFE

By The Old House Web

PLANTINGS FOR WILDLIFE

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Although landscaping serves an ornamental function attractive to the human eye, it also serves to attract various forms of wildlife. There are many plants of ornamental value which also are attractive to song and game birds, as well as to other varieties of wildlife.

The following table ennumerates various birds and those plants that are attractive to them. The asterisk (*) after a plant name, refers to the plant's value as a source of winter food. The double asterisk (**) indicates plants not too useful as ornamentals in the home plantings. The KEY refers to the numbers following specific plants below; for example, numbers 3, 5, 7 etc., appear after Amelanchier canadensis (Shadblow). This means that the Catbird, the Chewink and the Lark feed on the fruits of the Amelanchier.

KEY --- 1. Bluebird 15. Oriole 29. Myrtle Warbler

2. Hermit thrush 16. Phoebe 30. Bob-o-link

3. Catbird 17. Yellow shafted 31. Chicadee flicker 4. Song sparrow 18. Robin 32. Bohemian waxwing

5. Chewink 19. Mocking bird 33. Cedar waxwing

6. Veery 20. Swallow 34. Evening grosbeak

7. Lark 21. Tanger 35. Pine grosbeak

8. Wood thrush 22. Thrasher 36. Yellow billed cuckoo 9. Pine and 23. Thrush purple finch 37. Cedarbird

10. Wren 24. Vireo 38. Sapsucker

11. Blackbird 25. Warbler 39. Crow

12. Jay 26. Woodpecker 40. Rosebreasted grosbeak 13. Junco 27. Sparrow

14. Kingbird 28. Cardinal 41. Quail

PLANTS PRODUCING FRUITS VALUABLE FOR SONG BIRDS ----------------------------------------------- COMMON NAME BOTANICAL NAME BIRD KEY NUMBER ~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shadblow Amelanchier canadensis 1,3,5,7,8,12,15,18, 21,22,26,41

Red chokeberry* Aronia arbutifolia 9,12,13,34,35

Black choke- Aronia melanocarpa 7,22 cherry

Spicebush** Lindera benzoin 6,8,14,24,26,37,41

Washington Crataegus phaenopyrum 9,12,13,35 Hawthorn*

Scarlet Crataegus coccinea 9,12,13,35 Hawthorn*

Cockspur Crataegus crusgalli 9,12,13,35 Hawthorn*

English Crataegus oxycantha 9,12,13,35 Hawthorn

Cotoneaster Cotoneaster varieties 1, and others

Russian Elaeagnus angustifolia 33, and others Olive

Cherry Olive Elaeagnus multiflora 33, and others

Autumn Olive Elaeagnus umbellata 33, and others

American Euonymus americana 1,4,10 Spindlebush*

European Euonymus europaeus 18,26 Spindlebush*

Silky dogwood Cornus amomum 1,2,3,4,11

Coral dogwood Cornus alba siberica 12,13,14,15

Red osier Cornus stolonifera 17,18,21,24 dogwood

Yellowtwig Cornus lutea 17,18,21,24 dogwood

Flowering Cornus florida 26,27,31,34 dogwood

Graystem Cornus racemosa 35,37,39,41 dogwood

Teaberry, Gaultheria procumbens 9,13,34,35,37,41 checkerberry

Inkberry- Ilex glabra several holly

American Ilex opaca 1,2,3,17,18,19, holly* 22,33,38

Winterberry- Ilex verticillata 1,2,3,17,18,22, holly* 26,33,41

Red cedar* Juniperus virginiana 9,14,16,17,18, and varieties 19,23,25,29,31

Honeysuckle Lonicera varieties 3,9,12,13,19,22, 27,35

Flowering Malus varieties, small many-18 species Crab varieties that hold fruit best

White Morus alba 1,3,11,12,14,15,16, mulberry** 18,21,22,24,26,30, 36,37,41

Red Morus rubra 1,3,11,12,14,15,16, mulberry** 18,21,22,24,26,30, 36,37,41

Waxmyrtle Myrica cerifera 3,5,7,10,11,14,16, 18,20,23,24,25,26, 29,31

Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica 39,41 Tupelo Nyssa sylvatica 3,9,12,17,18,22,23, 26,33,41

Pine Pinus varieties 35

Black Prunus serotina 1,3,7,9,11,12,14,15, cherry** 17,18,19,20

Pin cherry** Prunus pensylvanica 21,23,24,25,26,30, 33,34,35,39

Choke Prunus virginiana many 31 species cherry**

Firethorn Pyracantha varieties several

Buckthorn Rhamnus varieties 3,12,13,14,18,22,34, 37

Shining Rhus copallina 1,3,11,12,14,17 sumac* **

Smooth Rhus glabra 18,19,21,22,24,25 sumac* **

Staghorn Rhus typhina 26,41 sumac* **

Meadow Rosa blanda several rose* **

Japanese Rosa multiflora many 38 species rose * **

Rugosa Rosa rugosa several rose*

Bramble Rubus varieties 1,12,18,28,30,31 fruits**

Elder- Sambucus canadensis 1,10,11,12,13,14,15, berry** 16,17,18,19,22,24, 26

Snowberry* Symphoricarpus albus 9,12,13,34,35

Coralberry* Symphoricarpus many 26 species orbiculatus

Mountain Sorbus varieties 1,3,15,18,19,23,26, ash* 32,33,34,37

Highbush Vaccinium corymbosum 3,4,5,12 blueberry Lowbush Vaccinium pensylvanicum 37,39,41 blueberry

Mapleleaf Viburnum acerifolium several kinds viburnum

Wild raisin Viburnum cassinoides several kinds viburnum

Arrowwood Viburnum dentatum several kinds viburnum

Linden Viburnum dilatatum several kinds viburnum

Nannyberry Viburnum lentago several kinds viburnum

European Viburnum opulus several kinds cranberry bush vib.

Blackhaw Viburnum prunifolium several kinds viburnum

Siebold Viburnum sieboldi 1,9,17,18,22,25,26, virurnum 37,39,40,41

The following table documents vines which produce fruit attractive and valuable to songbirds:

COMMON NAME BOTANICAL NAME BIRD KEY NUMBER ----------- -------------- ---------------

Virginia Parthenocissus quinquefolia 1,14,18,26,27 creeper

Boston ivy Parthenocissus tricuspidata 1,14,18,26

Bittersweet Celastrus scandens 1,18,26,41

Japanese Lonicera japonica 41 honeysuckle

Frost Vitis cordifolia 1,7,12,14,17 grape**

Fox grape** Vitis labrusca 18,22,26,28

Riverbank Vitis vulpina 37,39 grape**

Although one usually designates ornamental plantings as a rural practice, and does not attribute wildlife to urban areas, there are ornamental plants capable of enhancing urban environments while attracting wildlife to the area. More than eighty percent of the U.S. population is located in urban areas. All residents of the city unwittingly contribute to the degradation and destruction of our state's natural environments, as wild birds and other animals are squeezed out of the habitat they need for survival. In most cities the animal biomass exists by chance or for aesthetic considerations; and as wildlife becomes increasingly devoid of speciesand habitat diversity, they tend to drift towards monotony. Ecologists have found that this practice leads to imbalance and disruption of species survival.

As local populations of wildlife are displaced, isolation from the natural world occurs. The "extinction of experience" is a consequence of this; resulting in a human population more isolated from and less caring of the natural habitat. Preservation or simulation of natural environments can help maintain a sense of stewardship for the land and it's wildlife. Steps in this direction would be helpful on both the human and wildlife level; public opinion surveys show that most people want to know wild animals live around their homes and will maintain these habitats, while the health of wildlife populations is tied to the health of their habitats. The living spaces that provide animals with food, water, cover and shelter could be cultivated on a human level.

To begin cultivation on an area conducive to wildlife habitation, the conditions necessary for their survival should be improved. All animals get their energy for survival from plants or other animals. The ideal wildlife management plan uses natural vegetation (native plants); supplying year-round food, from the earliest summer berries to fruits which persist through the winter and spring. Fresh water is essential for all wildlife and is often the factor most limiting their presence on small properties. In conventional developments, many small natural drainage channels are obliterated or rerouted to enclosed storm sewers, requiring the provision of additional water. Animals dependent on springs, small streams, and tributaries suffer significant habitat losses if water is not provided.

Animals require the protective cover or shelter of plants for breeding, nesting, hiding, sleeping, feeding and traveling. All animals also require a certain amount of space or territory to mate and rear their young; however, an animal's requirement for space may be substantially less if food, water, and cover resources are increased.

The discontinuity of habitats can be a limiting factor for many species, and also a problem for those wishing to attract wildlife to the surrounding area. Animals can only be attracted to a yard or property from the larger surrounding landscape. The lack of a connective open space system is one of the factors that limits the diversity of wildlife in the urban area.

Habitat needs should be defined when attempting to attract wildlife in an urban area. A generalized habitat should be located somewhere nearby, to allow for the provision of wildlife in the area. A generalized habitat encompasses a variety of wildlife, and is located in such places as a backyard or neighborhood park. The habitat created should be based on some general principles and the specific plant and animal communities indigenous to the surrounding area.

Plan proactively for wildlife from the start, not treating them as "add-ons" or options. The key to success is the retention or recreation of suitable habitats, and is also linked to the prevention of loss of habitat. For example; on construction sites, save all possible trees, shrubs and ground cover. For wildlife, trees need not be perfect specimens; all dead trees are not hazards, nor are they intrinsically ugly but are actually homes for a whole series of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, and invertebrates associated with trees as they decline. It is advised to retain at least one dead or dying tree per one-quarter-acre lot if possible.

Multi-layered vegetation with a diversity of plant species is more stable and attracts more wildlife species. The vegetation comprising these areas are more than just monocultures or tall tree and grass combinations; they involve the conversion of all area not needed for lawns to beds of trees, shrubs or native grasses. The trees and shrub beds should be mulched with leaf litter, tree trimming chips or melaleuca mulch, as mulches are a rich food source for ground foragers like towhees and thrushes. Mulches also provide cover for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians while serving to enrich the soil.

Select plant species tolerant or urban conditions for use in these areas, preferably native species because of their increased wildlife value. Because pesticides are lethal to wildlife, the use of native plants is doubly recommended as using native plants will dramatically reduce disease and insect pest populations.

Hummingbirds are a variety of wildlife that are attainable in any area, with the provision those conditions necessary for their survival. This can be accomplished through the creation of hummingbird gardens.

The variety of hummingbird attracted to a garden is dependent on the regional area. Gardeners east of the Mississippi are only visited by the ruby-throated hummingbird, while Western gardeners usually are visited by seven different varieties. Appearances of the hummingbird are few and far between, and most gardeners never see one; usually due to lack of nectar plants used as a food supply.

Although hummingbirds eat tiny insects, their preferred food is nectar, which tends to be most abundant in trumpet- shaped flowers. Although they will feed from other flowers, blooms that are reddish or purple in color are most attractive to hummingbirds. Hence, gardens containing a large number of desirable flowers are most attractive. Fragrance is not an essential element, as the birds are attracted by color. Hummingbird gardens should contain plants which bloom continually from May to early autumn, when hummingbirds are present in Michigan.

A hummingbird can be characterized in several ways, most notably by their small size and the fast pace at which their wings beat. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Because their wings beat unusually quickly, hummingbirds use extreme amounts of energy; making it necessary for the birds to feed every 10 to 15 minutes from dawn until sunset. Hummingbirds are territorial and will guard prime flower plantings. One dominant bird often drives away others, making it necessary to locate plantings at widely seperate locations, allowing more birds to take up residence.

Hummingbirds will also drink sugar water from specially constructed feeders. The container is usually red, making it attractive to the birds. The sugar water solution is relatively easy to make at home, a combination of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. After combining, bring the solution to a boil and then cool before placing it in the feeder. Boiling will keep it fresh for a longer period of time; however, if the feeder is not emptied quickly, change the solution within a few days. Honey is not a recommended substitute for sugar, as it ferments and spoils too quickly.

The following table cites plants useful in the attraction of hummingbirds:

Plant Bloom Time Color ----- ----- ---- -----

BORDER FLOWERS -------------- Bugleweed (Ajuga) 5,6 b,pr Columbine (Aquilegia) 5,6 r,p,y,b,w Coralbells (Heuchera) 6,7,8,9 p,r Flowering Tobacco (Nico- 6,7,8,9,10 r,p,w tiana) Four-o'clock (Mirablis) 7,8,9,10 r,p,o,y,w Foxglove (Digitalis) 6,7 pr,r,w Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) 6,7,8,9,10 r,o,y,w Petunia (Petunia) 6,7,8,9,10 many Phlox (Phlox paniculata) 7,8,9 p,r,w Salvia (Salvia splendens) 6,7,8,9,10 r Snapdragon (Antirrhinum) 6,7,8,9,10 many Spider flower (Cleome) 7,8,9 p,w,pr Sweet William (Dianthus) 5,6 r,p,w Zinnia (Zinnia) 6,7,8,9,10 many

SHRUBS ------ Beautybush (Kolkwitzia) 5,6 p Flowering quince (Chaono- 5 r,p,o males) Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus) 7,8 p,w,pr Honeysuckle (Lonicera) 5,6 r,p Weigela (Weigela) 5,6 r,p

TENDER BULBS ------ ----- Dahlia (Dahlia) 7,8,9,10 r,p,y,o,w Gladioli (Gladiolus) 7,8,9 many

TREES ----- Black locust (Robinia) 5 w Crabapple (Malus) 5 r,p,w Hawthorn (Crategus) 5,6 w,p Horsechestnut (Aesculus) 5 w Red Buckeye (Aesculus) 5 r Siberian pea (Caragana) 5,6 y

VINES ----- Honeysuckle (Lonicera) 6,7,8,9,10 r,y Morning glory (Ipomea) 7,8,9,10 r,b Scarlet runner bean 7,8,9,10 r (Phaseolus) Trumpet creeper (Campsis) 7,8,9 o,r

WILDFLOWERS ----------- Beebalm (Monarda) 7,8 p,r Bleeding Hear (Dicentra) 5 r,p Butterfly weed (Asclepias) 7,8 o Cardinal flower (Lobelia) 7,8,9,10 r Jewelweed (Impatiens) 6,7,8,9,10 o Scarlet larkspur (Del- 6,7,8,9,10 r phinum)

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p--pink o--orange y--yellow pr-purple w--white b--blue

SOURCES:

"Hummingbird Gardens" by Nancy J. Butler

Robert J. Kent Cooperative Extension Agent Suffolk County

Richard Weir Nassau County Cooperative Extension

"Urban Plantings For Wildlife" by Susuan Cerulean Nongame Wildlife Section Supervisor Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Tallahassee, Florida Long Island Gardening-Nov. 1987

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Vaccinium corymbosum - 54K
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