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Trees provide birds with nesting sites, cover from inclement weather, food, and protection from preying animals.

Different species of birds often prefer different types of trees to nest. Many birds like to build their nest 10-20 feet off the ground where they are closer to food sources and in proximity to other birds. Smaller trees would include dogwoods, rebuds, fringe tree and deciduous magnolias. Evergreens such as hollies, arborvitaes, and magnolias are also fair game for nesting. Birds often use twigs, leaves and small pieces of bark to construct their nests.

Often these small or mid-size trees are under the canopy of larger trees like maples, black gums, oaks and hickory that add even more protection from inclement weather.

While many birds eat the fruit or seeds from trees, keep in mind the insects and small critters that trees attract are a more consistent food source throughout the year. Even in the winter birds are eating seeds and nuts from trees. Kousa dogwoods, crabapples, and serviceberry are three wonderful food sources for birds.

Birds have their fair share of predators, and count on trees and dense bushes for protection. Along with cats and dogs, birds are subject to ambush from raccoons, foxes and coyotes. Hawks will prey on smaller birds. Then you have snakes and squirrels who will eat eggs and young birds who can’t fly from the nest.

You can start to imagine that without trees and larger shrubs, a bird’s life can be daunting, and possibly shorten significantly.

If your back yard is open and void of larger shrubs and trees, and you would like to enjoy the birds, now is a good time to start creating a home for them.

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