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  • From: Louisa Rogoff Thompson <>
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  • Subject: [NAFEX] Re: attract birds into apple tree?
  • Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 08:58:44 -0400


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 <>
Subject: [NAFEX] attract birds into apple tree?
To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; x-mac-type="54455854";

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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