I must confess, I am not yet a birder, but one morning this week I heard the cardinal singing which, I believe, isn’t a usual sound for this time of year. So I went to the bird atlas and it told me that they start nest building as early as Mid-March. If that’s the case, then my earlier blog item on “Trees and Shrubs for Early Pollinators” would apply to cardinals as well. It seems to me that early blossoming trees and shrubs means early leaves which would attract a variety of insects and caterpillars, which means cardinals (as well as many other birds probably) would have insects available for their young as early as mid-April.
Native trees that are host insects for birds include Oaks (Quercus spp), Willows (Salix spp), Populars (Populus spp), Hickories (Carya spp) and believe it or not, Box Elder (Acer negundo). Shrubs include Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) and Dogwoods (Cornus spp).
Learn more about native trees and shrubs for birds from Wild Ones member Mariette Nowak. Mariette has also authored a book entitled Birdscaping in the Midwest – A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Birds. Plan to use these resources to add some native trees and shrubs to your landscaping for our native insects, caterpillars and birds.