Now is the time of year for us to repay the birds in our garden for eating all the nasty grubs etc. that try to ruin the look of our plants. I can’t say that I have noticed any damage to my plants, so the birds have obviously been doing their job. Now its my turn to say thank you to them by providing berries for the birds to help them survive the winter, as well as plenty of food on the bird table.
These amazing purple berries are enjoyed by the blackbirds, the berries are not easy for us to see, but the blackbirds just work their way along the Lonicera hedge, from one end to the other, feeding furiously as they go.
All the Holly bushes, wild as well as cultivated, have produced masses of berries this year so the birds will be well fed.
The berries on the Rosa glauca bush are now starting to go a bit soft, when they disintegrate a bit further, other birds, apart from blackbirds and thrushes can benefit from the goodness they provide. Robins , bluetits and other small birds are obviously too small to swallow them whole, so have to wait until they can eat them bit by bit.
Glowing in the sunshine with the leaves and berries almost the same colour is the Berberis bush, masses of berries here to keep everyone happy.
Hiding away inside the purple bracts on the Leycesteria formosa are purple berries which the birds love. They then pass the seed all over the garden and I end up with lots of seedling bushes to dig up and give to friends or sell on open days!
The red Pyracantha berries shine out against the dark green leaves, no passing bird can miss them. I keep on about the birds eating the berries but I’m sure that small mammals take their fair share while fattening up for hibernation, I’m thinking of our dormouse here who must be thinking of the long sleep to come.
There are masses of berries on the Pyracatha bush with orange berries, much more than the bush with red berries. Last year we noticed that the bush with orange berries was stripped first, even though all the nature books say that birds eat black fruit first, then followed by red before touching the orange berries, will have to see what happens this year.
Bit of a cheat, I know, these are the Ivy flower buds, not even the flowers are out yet! When the flowers are out they are a magnet for every passing bee, wasp, hoverfly etc, the bush really hums when they are all having a last feeding frenzy before shutting down for the winter. The berries are not formed for a long time yet, so come when all the other berries have been eaten and the larder is bare.
The Cotoneaster hedge in the back garden is beautifully decorated with hundreds of berries, far more than it usually has, which will be good for all the birds and their little furry friends.
The Cotoneaster horizontalis bushes are covered, but they won’t last long when a cold spell comes.
The berries of Arum italicum marmoratum are soon eaten, by birds, little furry animals and slugs!
All the acorns that we get from our oak trees mean that we are visited in the winter by the Jays. As well as eating them, they bury them round the garden, so we always have little seedling oaks coming up everywhere. The squirrels also bury them in the lawn and other squirrels come and dig them up, no wonder our lawn is never pristine !!
Once again it is Conker time, I’m not sure if any birds eat them, I know the squirrels do as well as burying these too in the lawn.
Our bushes are now covered with thousands of berries, so it all depends on what sort of winter is thrown at us, as to how long they will last. We noticed last winter, when we were covered in snow, that bushes which hadn’t been touched, were stripped bare in a couple of days. This was quite often by the migrant fieldfares and redwings and not the birds that had been working for us all summer in the garden! I’m sure we all realise how important it is for us to provide berries for the birds, even the smallest garden should have room for at least one berrying shrub or climber to keep them happy – would you agree?