Seed Plants for Bird Habitat - notes


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Seed Plants for Bird Habitat - notes

  1. 1. 1/7/2013Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Seeds for Birds C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSUDH & Madrona Marsh Preserve Madrona Marsh Preserve Gardening with Western L.A. County Native Plants November 7 & 10, 2009 Project SOUND - 2009 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND How do birds rate your yard? What every bird needs  Excellent  Good  Fair  Poor  Food  Shelter What makes a garden a good habitat for birds?  Water © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 1
  2. 2. 1/7/2013 To attract birds we need to understand Like butterflies, some birds are ‘picky eaters’ their habits & preferences  Generalists  Eat many different kinds of food – whatever is available  Well-adapted to different – and changing – environments  Often are common in urban & suburban yards – that’s why many people know them by name  Examples: Crows, Scrub Jays, Robins © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Like butterflies, some birds are ‘picky eaters’ Form follows function  Specialists  Eat selected kinds of foods – at least primarily  Raptors – meat-eaters  Insect-eaters  Fruit-eaters  Seed-eaters CA Towhee  Often very well adapted to a specific environment – have ‘developed together over time’  Often are less common in urban & suburban yards  Examples: Lesser Gold Finch, CA Towhee, Orioles, Tanagers Audubon’s Warbler © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 2
  3. 3. 1/7/2013 SHAPE TYPE ADAPTATION So how are the seed-eaters different? Seed eaters like sparrows and cardinals have Cracker short, thick conical bills for cracking seed.  Birds generally tend to select the food items they can process faster Birds of prey like hawks and owls have sharp, Shredder curved bills for tearing meat.  Food-selection experiments suggest that the evolution of bird granivory (seed- Woodpeckers have bills that are long and chisel- eating) has been mainly focused on the Chisel like for boring into wood to eat insects. development of morphologic adaptations for the mechanical digestion of seeds Hummingbird bills are long and slender for  Seed eating birds have modifications of Probe the skull which allow them to exert lots of probing flowers for nectar. pressure on seeds but have a flexible hinge that protects the jaw joint. Some birds are Tweezer Insect eaters like warblers have thin, pointed very powerful. The hawfinch, for instance, bills. can crush olive pits. The amazing strength in the upper and lower jaws of these Swiss Crows have a multi-purpose bill that allows them organisms allows the birds to deal with hard pits and seeds by shearing forces. m/2008/06/finch.jpg Army to eat fruit, seeds, insects, fish, and other Knife animals. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Why eat seeds? Many of our key seed sources for birds  Readily available – formerly in large are annual wildflowers & grasses numbers (plants have to produce many seeds to insure reproduction)  Seeds are ‘super food’ – lots of bang for the buck  The bulk of most seeds consist of stored food – needed by the seedling  That stored food is calorie-dense – fats, oils, starches  Both plants & animals can digest that food – animals share lots of basic enzymes with plants  It’s not surprising that many migratory birds eat seeds © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 3
  4. 4. 1/7/2013 Seeds that birds eat on the plant Lesser Goldfinch - Carduelis psaltria  The Lesser Goldfinch can often be seen in the chaparral eating Chamise and Wooley Bluecurls seeds. They also like to feed on Asteraceae (Sunflower family).  Some other plants used are Miners lettuce, Red Maids, Fiddle neck, Amsinckia spp. and Dove weed, Eremocarpus setigerus, Night Shades, Solanum spp, Sage Salvia spp, Catch-fly, Silene spp. Tar weed Hemizonia spp., © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Macouns Cudweed – Pseudognaphalium macounii Remember, Everlastings also make good cut flowers © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 4
  5. 5. 1/7/2013 Macouns Cudweed – Pseudognaphalium macounii The Cudweeds  Genera: Gnaphalium; Pseudognaphalium  A plant of N. America  Other common names:  Grows from Pennsylvania and Arizona, north to Nova Scotia  Rabbit Tobacco – because and British rabbits chew it like chewing Columbia tobacco ora_id=1&taxon_id=250067390  In CA, found in many parts of  Everlasting – because the state flowers (bracts) last a long time  Grows in open places - open Pseudognaphalium canescens  Many uses: woods, pastures, roadsides  Often used as a tobacco substitute (chewed or smoked)  Named after John Macoun  Often used medicinally (1831-1920), one of the great  Are great all-round habitat Canadian naturalists of the 19th plants – attracting both insects Century. He was a prolific & birds collector and cataloguer of Canadian flora and fauna. © Project SOUND Pseudognaphalium californicum © Project SOUND Characteristics of Macoun’s Cudweed Flowers are ‘everlasting’  Size:  Blooms summer/fall: usually July  1-2 ft tall – perhaps to 3 ft. to Sept-Oct in our area  1-3 ft wide  Flowers:  Growth form:  Sunflower heads – without the  Herbaceous annual or biennial ray flowers  Generally erect from a basal  On rather tall, many-branched rosette of leaves flowering stalks  Foliage:  One of the showier everlastings  Bright to yellow-green above;  Sweet-scented wooly-white below  Seeds:  Leaf bases are wide, extend  Small, with fluffy wings – wind down the stem dispersed  Plant is sweetly fragrant – some say ‘balsam-like’ scent  Roots: taproot © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 5
  6. 6. 1/7/2013 Everlastings = habitat Everlasting are easy  Soils:  Texture: just about any; not particular  Foliage  pH: any local  Provide cover for ground-  Light: full sun dwellers and foragers  Water:  Provide larval food for  Winter/spring: like any Lady butterflies & for annual wildflower – needs page.asp?sp=Vanessa-virginiensis other insects good winter/spring rain  Flowers  Summer: no water after  Nectar attracts a whole flowering – needed for proper seed development host of insects  Seeds are relished by  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils seed eating birds in summer & fall  Other: may reseed itself on bare soil; might want to save some seeds © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Garden uses for native annual Everlastings Medicinal uses of native Everlastings  Make interesting, fragrant  Teas & infusions of leaves pot plants – in general do fine  Gastrointestinal upsets in containers  Respiratory illness; colds  As a gargle for sore throats  Look nice mixed with other native wildflowers, flowering  Poultice of crushed or perennials & grasses heated/boiled leaves  Externally, to relieve swelling  Fall-dry areas of the yard –  Placed on cotton bandages and may be out-of-the-way then applied to wounds as a places compress  In a ‘cut-flower’ garden or  Sometimes smoked or smudged herb garden Resinous exudates have for ceremonial purposes been shown indeed to have  Dry spots near the vegetable antimicrobial or fungicidal garden – attracts pollinators properties © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 6
  7. 7. 1/7/2013 Southern Goldenrod – Solidago spectabilis var. confinis Southern Goldenrod – Solidago spectabilis var. confinis  Mostly a CA native goldenrod  Mostly west of Sierras  Also down into N. Baja  Usually found on wet streambanks, springs and marshes to 7500 in coastal sage scrub, chaparral and yellow pine forest  Locally, found near seeps and marshes  Still called Solidago confinis in Jepson’s Manual – and may be sold under this name,1838,1842 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND The genus Solidago: the Goldenrods the genus Solidago: the Goldenrods  ~ 100 perennial species  Propagation by wind-  Most grow in meadows, pastures, disseminated seed or along roads & ditches in North underground rhizomes (form America patches that are vegetative  Unfairly blamed for hay fever in clones of a single plant). late summer/fall - Ragweed (Ambrosia sp.), blooming at the CA Goldenrod - Solidago californica  Goldenrod is a companion plant, same time but wind-pollinated, is the usual culprit. playing host to beneficial insects, repelling some pests  Easily recognized by their golden flowering stalks with hundreds of  Goldenrods are also important small flowers.CA Goldenrod - Solidago californica habitat plants for a wide range  Their alternate leaves are linear of native insects, butterflies,Goldenrods have been used to lanceolate. Their margins are birds, British gardens for > 200 usually finely to sharply serrated.years © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 7
  8. 8. 1/7/2013 Little known fact: Goldenrod tires In nature, always in winter-wet areas  Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to  Suggests possible places produce rubber, which it contains for Southern Goldenrod naturally. in the home garden  His experiments produced a 12 foot tall plant that yielded as much Central CA Coast as 12 percent rubber.  The tires on the Model T given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod.  Examples of the rubber can still be found in his laboratory, elastic and rot free after more than 50 years. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Mojave Desert Southern Goldenrod is an herbaceous perennial Probably our showiest Goldenrod  Size:  2-3 ft tall  Blooms: summer/fall - usually  2+ ft wide, spreading in July or Aug. to Oct. in western L.A. County  Growth form:  Stout looking herbaceous  Flowers: perennial  Typical for Goldenrods;  Fall/winter deciduous; dies showy flowering stalks above back to basal rosette the leaves  Flower heads are small – but  Foliage: there are LOTS of them –  Leaves lance-shaped – mostly spectacular basal  Among our better fall-  Leaves fleshy, bright to pale bloomers green  Seeds: small, ‘sunflower’ seeds  Roots: spreads via rhizomes © 2003 Christopher L. Christie with a bristle © Project SOUND © Project SOUND © 2003 Christopher L. Christie 8
  9. 9. 1/7/2013 Goldenrods thrive in moist spots in the garden Propagating  Soils: Goldenrods is easy  Texture: any local – sandy to heavy clay  From seed:  pH: any local  Use fresh, dry seed (fall  Light: full sun to light shade collected)  Plant in spring – when  Water: © 2006 Adonis (Don) Tate weather warms up  Winter: fine with plenty of water –  Just barely cover seeds takes winter flooding  From divisions:  Summer: needs some water for  Very easy good blooming – Zone 2-3 or even 3 is fine  In winter/early spring  You can just spade up new  Fertilizer: none needed – but won’t plantlets – with a section kill it either. of root containing at least one plantlet - and repot  Other: easy to grow with adequate water; just dig it up if it spreads too © 2006 Adonis (Don) Tate © Project SOUND © 2003 Christopher L. Christie far © Project SOUND Use Goldenrods for habitat and fall color Goldenrods (and others in the Sunflower family) make great natural dyes  Great in areas bordering the lawn – can take the extra water  Nice addition to the perennial bed  As an attractive container plant  Nice around ponds  A must for bird and butterfly gardens  Makes a nice cut flower © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 9
  10. 10. 1/7/2013 Why ‘sunflowers’ Other good native Goldenrods are such good food  Healthy unsaturated fats, protein and fiber  important nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, copper, zinc, folate, iron  Other phytochemicals  All of this in a neat little package – the sunflower seed.© 2006 Adonis (Don) Tate Solidago californica Euthamia (Solidago) occidentalis © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Other plants to attract ‘on the plant’ seed eaters Think about adding a birdbath Encelias Heterotheca grandiflora Helianthus annuus Cirsium occidentale © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 10
  11. 11. 1/7/2013 Seeds for ground-foraging birds To attract Mourning Doves  Diet is typically 95% seeds or plant parts.  Eat a wide variety of seeds, waste grain, fruit, and insects.  They prefer seeds that rest on the ground. Occasionally they eat in trees and bushes when ground foods are scarce.  Favorites: native grasses & sedges, Croton species, Sourberry (Rhus trilobata), ‘Sunflowers’ & other wildflowers  Need bare ground for feeding © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Common Eucrypta – Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia Common Eucrypta – Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia var. chrysanthemifolia var. chrysanthemifolia  Central & S. CA (CA Floristic Province) to AZ, NV and Baja  Common on burns and in shaded places like canyon bottoms to 3000, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, disturbed areas  Dominant fire-follower,4538,4539,4541 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 11
  12. 12. 1/7/2013 The genus Eucrypta Eucrypta in the wild  Only two species, both native to U.S. Southwest.  Why do wildflowers thrive  Name Eucrypta means "well- after a wildfire? hidden", which refers to the  A few annual wildflowers seeds being "hidden" in the small need heat/smoke to green bristled fruits. germinate well; this is more  Known generally as hideseeds. common with perennial species, trees, shrubs  Are annuals with sticky, aromatic green foliage. The leaves are  More commonly, due to strongly lobed and look somewhat availability of resources: like fern fronds. Some plants have very few leaves and are  SunlightThese are among the first plants tospring up after an area has been mostly stems bearing flowers and  Winter/spring moisturecleared by fire. fruits.  Nutrients © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Common Eucrypta – pretty little annual Flowers are little  Size:  Blooms: in spring - usually Mar-  1-2 ft tall May, depending on winter rains  1-2 ft wide  Flowers:  Small and dainty looking  Growth form:  Bell-shaped with pale purple  Annual wildflower markings  Butterflies and bees attracted  Foliage: by nectar  Pale green to yellow-green  Seeds:  Leaves look almost fern-like  Two kinds; round & wrinkled –  Sticky, with characteristic different germination times scent  Both eaten by ground-feeding  Often grows with other birds wildflowers and grasses © 2004 Michelle Cloud-Hughes © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 12
  13. 13. 1/7/2013 Eucrypta’s not demanding Garden uses for Common Eucrypta  Soils:  As an attractive pot plant  Texture: any, from sandy to clay  Under toyon or Elderberry  pH: any local  With common associates: Collinsia heterophylla, Eschscholzia californica,  Light: Eremocarpus setigerus, Lomatium  Part-sun to shade utriculatum, Calandrinia ciliata, Solidago californica, Salvia columbariae,  Perhaps more sun on coast Uropappus lindleyi, Plantago erecta  Water:  Winter: need good rains for germination and growth Pretty easy to grow – like  Summer: treat as Zone 1 (no many native S. CA wildflowers summer water) after it blooms  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Dove Plant/Turkey Mullein – Croton setigerus Dove Plant/Turkey Mullein – Croton setigerus  A plant of the west:  Drier (eastern) parts of WA/OR to Baja  Much of CA, usually in ocean-influenced areas < 2500 ft elevation  common in coastal sage scrub, valley grassland and oak woodland  A plant of disturbed bin/,3660, places (natural or man- 3661 made):  Burned & flooded areas  Roadsides, agricultural lands © Project SOUND © Project SOUND pus_setigerus.gif 13
  14. 14. 1/7/2013 Crotons are Euphorbias (Euphorbiaceae) Dove Plant is an interesting annual…  Size:  < 1 ft tall  2-3 ft wide  Growth form:  Herbaceous annual  Rather sprawly, moundedCA Croton (Croton californicus) growth habit Rattlesnake Plant - Chamaesyce sub-shrub of coastal areas  Foliage: albomarginata  Leaves heart-shaped, rather stiff-looking, pale green  Entire plant covered in prickly hairs – need to handle with care  Foliage toxic to animals – if crazy enough to eat itDove Plant (Croton setigerus) CA Spurge - Euphorbia miseraSOUND © Project  Unique, sweet scentSOUND © ProjectAn annual wildflower Two different seed Flowers are weird strategies  Blooms in summer/fall: can range from May to Oct.  Two different seeds:  Uniform gray; may be flatter;  Flowers: in a word, ‘unique’ produced later in season  Separate male & female  Mottled; may be larger, rounded flowers; male clustered  Two different strategies insure above several female survival: flowers  Gray seeds germinate under drier  Male flowers rudimentary – conditions; not eaten by birds due no petals unpalatable taste of seed coat  Flowers small, yellow-green,  Mottled seeds germinate under very hairy wetter conditions; loved by  Very interesting looking, ground-feeding birds but not obviously showy  Common names (Dove Plant; Turkey Mullein) from the affinity  Fruit: a dry capsule of Doves and Wild Turkeys for containing 1 seed the seeds. Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database © Project SOUND © Project SOUND © 2009 Neal Kramer 14