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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Birds, Plants Attractive to

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BIRDS, Plants Attractive to. Certain trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants bear fruits which afford food for birds. These have been discovered by observation, and by the scientific examination of the contents of birds' stomachs. By planting those species, therefore, which have been proved most desirable and that are suited to the climate and soil of the chosen location, birds can be attracted to the vicinity of dwelling-houses or to any other desired spot as a copse or shrubbery; or, on the other hand, lured away from valuable orchards, since they fortunately appear to like best arid, bitter, sour or aromatic fruits, distasteful to human beings, even better than the cultivated kinds.

Moreover, these bird-attracting plants are apt to be ornamental as well, since many have pretty fruits, red in color and often clinging to their branches far into the winter, furnishing grateful additions to the meagre fare of the hard-weather birds. Among the most frequented trees are the various wild cherries (Prunus); dogwoods (Cornus); pepper-tree (Schinus); pepperidge (Nyssa); China-tree (Melia); pines (Pinus); oaks (Quercus); magnolias (Magnolia); apples (Acer); manzanita (Arctostaphylos); cedars and junipers (Juniperus); hollies (Ilex); mountain ashes (Pyrus); hackberries (Celtis); sassafras (Sassafras) and thorns (Cratægus). The mulberry (Morus) is the prime favorite, and the tree most used for tolling the birds away from cultivated fruits.

For shrubberies, one can plant with success all of the ordinary edible small fruits and berries besides the elders (Sambucus); service (———) or juneberries (Amelanchier); wild roses (Rosa); snowberries (Symphoricarpus); sumachs (Rhus); spicebush (Benzoin); pokeberry (Phytolacca); cornels (Cornus}; bearberry (Arctostaphylos); silverberry (Eleagnus); buffalo berry (Shepherdia); buckthorn (Rhamnus); bayberries (Myrica); black-alder (Ilex); viburnums (Viburnum); bluewood (Condalia); lotebush (Zizyphus), firethorn (Cotoneaster); nockaway (Ehretia); barberry (Berberis); and a number of others.

Climbing plants can also be utilized, among them the wild grapes (Vitis); Virginia creeper (Psedera); bittersweet (Celastrus); hog-peanut (Falcata) and milk-pea (Galactia).

The many sparrows feed chiefly on weed seeds, but more acceptable plants from the gardener's point of view can be offered to them, such as the various so-called millets (Panicum, Setaria, Eleusine); princes' feather (Amaranthus, Polygonum); chamomiles, white and yellow (Anthemis); California poppy (Escholtzia); tarweed (Madia); bachelor's buttons (Centaurea) and the like. Wild ducks are attracted by several aquatic and semi-aquatic plants, among the most important being the wild rice (Zizania); the wild celery, or tape-grass (Vallisneria); various pondweeds (Potomageton) and arrowheads, also called wapato and the Delta duck potato (Sagittaria) . The wild millet (Echinochloa) and chufa tubers (Cyperus) also afford them food. Consult Kennard, H., ‘List of Trees, Shrubs, Vines and Herbaceous Plants, native to New England, bearing fruit or seeds attractive to Birds’ (Reprint from Bird-Lore, Vol XIV, No. 4, 1912); McAtee, W. L., ‘Plants useful to attract Birds and protect Fruit,’ (Reprint from ‘Yearbook of Agriculture’ 1898); also many pamphlets, farmers' bulletins, circulars and reports published by the United States Department of Agriculture, and Bureau of Biological Survey.

Helen Ingersoll.