I must confess, I’m not much of a birder, but one morning this week I saw the cardinals flitting around which prompted me to do some research. So I went to the bird atlas and it told me that the cardinals can 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 would attract a variety of insects and caterpillars. That means cardinals, as well as many other birds, should have insects available for their young as early as late-April — although this year it probably means more like mid-May.
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 author Mariette Nowak, former Director of Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee. 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.