As summer wanes and breeding birds begin exchanging brassy songs and bright colors for muffled tones and camouflage, it pays more than ever to know where to look. You can go wandering for hours in woods or fields this time of year and hardly see a thing to get excited about. Sometimes this is because there is nothing to be seen. More than likely, though, birds are there, but they’re concentrated in places where rich foods offer the energy they need to propel them to Mexico or beyond.
In late summer look to patches of rough leaf dogwood to turn up warblers and thrushes. Poison ivy is another plant to keep an eye on. Keep your distance, of course, but if they get good sun, poison ivy vines produce a profusion of shiny green leaves. Among them, in loose sprays, appear green fruits slowly ripening to white. These, like dogwood fruits, carry a heavy load of lipids, and birds such as woodpeckers and warblers eagerly consume them at the appropriate time. Virginia creeper is another vine in our area that produces spectacular fall color along with berries for the birds.
Pokeberries are another local magnet for birds in the central Texas area. Recently while standing at my kitchen sink I noticed over a dozen eastern bluebirds flying toward me. They would disappear just before they hit the window. Under that window are pokeberry plants taller than I and weighted down with clusters of black fruit. Another year these cerulean birds flocked to the chile pequin plants for three days until they stripped them bare. Mockingbirds are also regular visitors to the pokeberry buffet. The gray cat bird is a fun migrant that is attracted to these plants also. What a treat to hear this so aptly named bird when he spends a few days with us along his migration journey.
Remember the birds when you are adding plants to your landscape. Incorporating native species can be rewarding for their beauty, low maintenance and minimal water requirements. An added benefit is that they provide fruit for our feathered friends which can also provide many fun encounters right out your window. Article taken in part from The Backyard Birds newsletter. For more information, contact: email@example.com 325 372-7615.