[NAFEX] Re: attract birds into apple tree?

Louisa Rogoff Thompson louisathompson at erols.com
Fri May 27 08:58:44 EDT 2005


Charlie,

Almost all birds eat insects, but chickadees, tufted titmice, 
nuthatches, and woodpeckers are among the best for cleaning them out of 
a tree.  It may be easier to attract them in winter, when there are 
fewer insects around.  The birds spend a lot of time in trees that have 
rough or platy bark, digging under the bark to get at insects 
overwintering under it.  When spring comes, they're likely to nest in 
those trees or nearby.  Dogwood, black haw viburnum, and white oak are 
examples of that kind of tree.

A suet-feeder is a good way to attract insect-eating birds, and I agree 
with the suggestion to use pure suet.  If there are starlings around, 
use a feeder that requires the bird to cling upside down to the bottom 
of the feeder.  (This also reduces melting.) 

Buying beneficial (insect-eating) insects tends to be a waste of money.  
Those good bugs are generally present anyway, and if they're not, they 
probably won't survive or will move away.  Populations of predatory 
insects (preying on other insects, not people) build up a few days after 
a pest insect infestation is seen.  Sprays that kill the pests tend to 
kill the beneficial insects too, but the pests rebound a lot faster than 
the beneficials.

A few years ago, people bought so many ladybugs that a non-native 
ladybug species was brought from Asia and widely sold.  Now we have 
these tan ladybugs invading houses every fall. 

A few birds eat mainly fruit, and mockingbirds are the worst.  You 
already try to keep them out of your orchard, I'm sure, but here's 
another reason.  Mockingbirds will defend a winter food-territory, and 
will defend it against other species, something almost no other bird 
does.  That is, they can drive off the insect-eaters even in the winter, 
if there is multiflora rose or another shrub that holds its fruit over 
the winter.  So if you see mockingbirds, get rid of the multiflora 
(easier said than done, of course), or at least use a hedge trimmer to 
cut off the fruit.

Louisa Thompson
Columbia, MD, zone 7B

>Message: 1
>Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 13:01:26 -0400
>From: Charles Paradise <machelp at attglobal.net>
>Subject: [NAFEX] attract birds into apple tree?
>To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Message-ID: <429600C1.211F6521 at attglobal.net>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; x-mac-type="54455854";
>	x-mac-creator="4D4F5353"
>
>Just now I saw a chickadee in the Northern Spy apple tree.  I don't know if chickadees are insect-eating birds, but what means are available to attract insect-eating birds into a tree?
>
>Such as:
>1] Suet?  If so, how prevent squirrels from accessing suet?  Is a simple suet cage enough?
>2] Growing intentionally some insects that would release from the apple tree to provide an attaction for insect-eating birds to visit the tree?
>
>Charlie Paradise, Massachusetts
>
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