Berries for the birds.

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.

Lonicera berries


All the Holly bushes, wild as well as cultivated, have produced masses of berries this year so the birds will be well fed.

Rosa Glauca

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.

Berberis berries

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.

Leycestarie formosa

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.

Pyracantha berries

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.

Ivy flowers

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.

Cotoneaster berries

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.

Cotoneaster horizontalis

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?


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10 Responses to Berries for the birds.

  1. lovely larder of food you have Pauline, sounds like your lawn could quickly turn into a forest! I have several of these plants but they just don’t grow much here, I don’t know what they find but many birds find food in the soil below the grass where I’ve cut it down including migrating fieldfares and redwings, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      You’re right Frances, I think if we went away for 10yrs our garden would only consist of oak & chestnut but also ash which is a weed here and silver birch.
      Glad your migrants find plenty of food to feed them up so that they can then come down to me!

  2. Alberto says:

    I posted a comment yesterday but it seems it got lost… Sorry!
    I told you how much I liked the lonicera nitida berries, which I’ve never seen before around here, I wonder why.

    It is nice to read how you think of birds when you plant shrubs for birds, I selfishly just plant berry shrubs mostly because I like them in the garden, I never thought of it as a good move for birds and little mammals… I now like berries twice! 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Sorry you got lost in cyber space Alberto! I never knew Lonicera nitida had berries until I saw one of our blackbirds enjoying eating something as it was walking along the top of the hedge-just had to investigate and found those gorgeous purple berries.
      I try to encourage as many birds as possible into the garden so that they will eat all the nasty creepy crawlies, it works!!!

  3. debsgarden says:

    You have provided a banquet for the birds! I have chosen many of my own shrubs and trees with the birds in mind. The berries are beautiful to look at, but I even more enjoy watching the birds engorge themselves!

    • Pauline says:

      We try to help the birds where we can Debs, like you ,we enjoy watching them working their way round the shrubs and hedges. They obviously enjoy what they find!!

  4. catmint says:

    yes I agree, it’s good to choose plants that will attract birds. This post encouraged me to consider different birds’ choice of food. Wattle birds in my garden eat nectar not seeds, and butcher birds, crows, magpies and currawongs eat insects. Pigeons and doves eat seeds so they would appreciate the berries. Interesting, stimulating post. And by the way, I have really benefited from the info you taught me on spiders and their webs. I have impressed quite a few people saying casually: “well, you know the difference between spider webs and cobwebs …” as if this is something I had known for ages!

    • Pauline says:

      It’s so interesting once you look a bit further than the flowers and berries just looking pretty, isn’t it Catmint. While they make our gardens look lovely, the bees, birds and small mammals are oblivious to how they look and just see them as FOOD! Here in the UK natural countryside is getting less and less and the wildlife is turning more and more to gardens to survive.
      Thanks for your comments re spiders webs-lol-amazing what we learn from each others blogs!

  5. Tim says:

    Pauline, a question about your holly bushes. I have one in my front garden however it seems to produce very small berries in the spring which quickly disappear. I don’t believe the birds get them. Its almost as if they wither and fall off. I heard or read somewhere that I need either a male/female plant within a short distance to pollinate the fruit. Is this accurate? Thank you for the fabulous photographs it was a joy to take a virtual walk through your garden.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m puzzled by your berries that disappear in the spring Tim, what colour are they? Are they green/white or red, if green/white,the only thing I can think of is that they could possibly be tight flower buds, which look like berries, which then fall off if you have a sudden frost or very cold spell. You are right in thinking that you need a male bush in the neighbourhood to fertilise any female bushes in order to have berries in the autumn, but without flowers in the spring, no berries in the autumn.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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