Saturday, August 25, 2007

Don't Cut Those Purple Coneflowers!

A few years ago, I read about how you could attract birds to your yard by planting certain bushes and flowers. The first flowers that I planted were Purple Coneflowers. Each year, after the flowers drop their petals, birds come to pick the seeds off of the remaining centers of the flowers. Birds really go after these seeds with a vengeance, especially finches- (The first 3 pics can be enlarged-I still don't get how this works).
The other day, there was a period of about 20 minutes when the birds went in to a feeding and bathing frenzy. The Orioles, and Goldfinches were taking turns at the Coneflowers.
These crabapples seemed to appeal to the Orioles as well. I've seen them pick at the flowers in spring, but have never seen them eat the fruit off of this particular Tree. The Coneflowers, Crabapple Tree, and birdbath are all together in the same little 9'x5' flower garden. It's nice to see the birds making use of this area. Meanwhile, birds were literally lining up to take turns in the bath. The Common Grackles seemed to be in charge. Can you think of a caption for these three?
Several Orioles, including this male, joined in for the fun as well. I don't think he wanted to leave but..........
A Blue Jay came barrelling in and got down to some serious bathing. These photos aren't really giving you the whole picture. There were many other birds at the bath during the same period including: Cardinals, Chickadees, and Red-winged Blackbirds. The action was non-stop. I wonder what triggered these birds to get so active all at the same time?
Which tree, flower, or shrub is most popular with birds in your yard?

22 comments:

Cathy said...

Honest? You've got that wonderful activity in your 9 by 5 garden. Well, that's just so neat.

Hmmm . . a caption for those grackles. OK. I'm afraid this is a little lame, but here it goes:

"Keep gargling. We don't want mom to smell the booze from last night's party"

:0(

Larry said...

Cathy-You caught me off guard with that caption-I wouldn't have expected you to go in that direction, and it made me laugh!

Wren said...

I won't even try to top cathy's caption, but I do like that picture. Coneflowers are favorites. too. I sometimes think small yards are more sucessful because you can concentrate on just that one area and make it a very attractive habitat.

sarala said...

Love these shots. I'd like to make my garden a bit more bird friendly. This year I've had more butterflies than I've noticed before so I must be doing something right.
I have sunflowers that self seed in my garden every year. The squirrels often get the heads before I do. I leave them up all winter and they are very popular with the birds. For the seeds while they last and as a perch thereafter.

Ruth said...

The coneflowers are bird magnets in my garden too. Butterflies like the Autumn Joy Sedum and berry eating birds like the Mountain Ash fruit.
Nice finch picture.

Larry said...

Wren-I concentrate on a small area because I know that I won't keep up with it otherewise!

Larry said...

Sarala-Sunflowers-that's something I've been meaning to plant.
Ruth-What kind of birds have you seen eating mountain ash berries?-Are those the little orange berries?

Veery said...

We love how the birds hang out on our plants and chow. Our American Goldfinches have been inhaling our Cupplant seeds like crazy!

mon@rch said...

hmm, my cone flowers never popped up this year?? Love all your shots and you have so much activity in your back yard! BRAVO

Mary said...

I can't top Cathy's caption, either. Those gangsta birds remind me of the Mafia.

You have a lot of action there...I just love that first photo of the sweet goldfinch snacking away.

I think the reason I have so many birds is because of the constant water supply in my pond. My neighbors have the cone flowers that keep them very busy and I have several types of holly berry bushes. I don't see any of my birds enjoying much except for my feeders and cone flowers which I plan to grow next year.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
This was a great post. I loved seeing the pictures of all your different birds. I've never seen orioles eating crabapples in my yard, so that was interesting.
I can't honestly tell you what the favorite plantings are in my yard, unless the Cooper's Hawk flies in and then everyone heads for the dense, overgrown red osier dogwoods or my big messy brushpile.

Jayne said...

I have coneflowers which have already bloomed out and are black, but have seen no birds on them yet. I seem to see more birds eating away in the two hackberry trees beside our driveway (which really are on the property of the house next to us) more than anything. Love seeing all your bathing friends!

fuzzyturtle said...

longtime reader, first time poster..

I've stopped pulling the goldenrod that grows on the perimiter of my property.. the bugs and bees love it! Not exactly bird-oriented.. but alot of weeds are good for the non-furry creatures. Same with milkweed.. I've had lots of butterflies fluttering about as a result!

next year.. coneflowers for sure! They're pretty and a good attractant for the garden. :)

Larry said...

Veery-O.K.!-I'll be checking out cupplant in a moment.

Mary-I guess Coneflowers are one of the top choices-The Grackles act like Mafia Birds some times.

Ruthiej-As I said, I've seen birds pick at the Crabapple flowers but never the crabapples.

Jayne-I have to replace one tree with a new one so I'll take a look at what hackberry has to offer.-yes the birds in my yard have been instructed to take baths after dinner!

fuzzyturtle-thanks for taking the time to comment! -Many birds like insects, so you are providing food indirectly.

LauraHinNJ said...

I have no luck with conflowers, but I've been watching the goldfinches picking at the seeds on the thistle plants the last few weeks.

You're lucky to have such a nice variety of birds in your backyard, Larry. You're doing something right to be attracting so many!

Isn't that some sort of dominance display the grackles are doing?

Larry said...

Laura-Is that what they're doing?-Makes sense-pretty cool when the Grackles do that.-Believe me, I don't get Oriokes in my yard every day, but the plantings do help-thanks.

Lynne said...

I've seen that grackle posturing before too. It sure looks silly. I'm so impressed with all you've done to attract birds and other wildlife to your yard. BRAVO!!

Cathy said...

Hey! Larry! Do I WIN the caption contest. Yea! So - I've revealed a side of myself you hadn't suspected, eh? Weeellll . . . . stay tuned ;0D

Larry said...

Lynne-thanks you-I have tried, and hope to do a little more each year.

Cathy-yes you win-You've won a free afternoon of cloudwatching-enjoy!

dguzman said...

I keep waiting for the birds to attack my purple and white coneflowers, but so far I haven't seen any action there. Maybe they do it when I'm not around.

Larry said...

Dzugman-Those sneaky Goldfinches!

katerina said...

I have a large garden of purple cone flowers and although I have read they are bug resistant something is eating the leaves before they even grow out. Does anyone know what these little pests could be? I have sprayed them with an organic garlic solution which did nothing. Help!