Create Safe Bird Habitats With Climbing Roses
I sometimes think to myself, if I were a bird, where would I most like to live? I know that probably isn’t what normal people think about. But hey, what can I say—I’m a bird nerd! As a bird, I want to live where it is safe, where there is plenty of food, stuff to make nests with, and lots of high perches where I can watch for possible trouble. Come to think of it, that would work for me as well!
If you were a bird, where would you choose to live?
Climbing Roses Provide Birds With:
- Food in the form of rose hips; flowers, caterpillars and lots of other insects
- Fragrance, which in turn attracts insects
- Shelter from bad weather and hot sun
- Safe nesting places
- Nesting Materials
- Vantage Points from which to watch for approaching predators
- Hiding Places from predators
'Home Sweet Home'
Okay, so if you picked number 1 in the Poll, 'in a climbing thorny rose bush', then you are probably a Northern Cardinal. You know that you can easily find a tasty morsel to offer your intended life mate, and that you can hide your family from sky-born and 4-footed predators. She will be most impressed with your selection of living quarters!
Being that gorgeous male Northern Cardinal, you also know that you are in for a rough breeding season. You’d better be well fed and in tip-top shape if you’re going to survive to see another winter. Good thing there is plenty of protein available within that climbing rose. Mrs. Northern Cardinal is a gifted nest builder, but you will be providing all the raw materials. Once she lays her eggs, she needs to be fed until they have hatched. Mama does not feed her babies; that is up to the Mr.
Video from Heirloom Roses with tips on pruning roses and using extra Rose Hips in Arrangements
You have yet another duty, and that is to make sure predators like squirrels, snakes, chipmunks, raccoons, owls, hawks, northern shrikes and blue jays stay away from your family. As a devoted and attentive family guy, you will run yourself ragged feeding both your mate and the newly-hatched nestlings.
Oh no, what is the Mrs. up to now? Just great! She’s off building yet another nest, and will need nourishment once again as she awaits the next bunch of baby Cardinals! The Mr. just finished coaxing the last fledgling out of the first nest, and his day isn’t done yet. He’ll still have to stand guard to make sure the wobbly young flyers don’t run into a situation they aren’t yet equipped to handle.
Papa will also have to teach the youngsters how and where to find their wild food. Talk about the ultimate multi-tasker! This will go on as many as 4 times during the breeding season. Mr. and Mrs. Northern Cardinal, you are quite the amazing dude and dudette!
Nutritious Rose Hips
In the late summer and early fall when all the babies have ventured out on their own, rose bushes produce nutritious treats known as rose hips. There is more vitamin C in rose hips than in oranges! These will help sustain birds into the winter months.
If you choose to plant a hedgerow of climbing roses, you will have oceans of rose hips for you and your birds. Not all climbing rose bushes produce rose hips, so be sure to check that out first.
Where to Find These Roses
2 Excellent Heirloom Climbing Rose Varieties For You and Your Birds to Enjoy
Dortmund developed in 1955 is vigorous and grows from 15 to 30 feet in zones 5-9 ; it develops rose hips after all the flowers have died back. It is a brilliant lipstick red with yellow stamens and sports prolific canes and thorns. Keep it trained on a high trellis, or the side of a building where it will not snag the unwary passerby! This one will surely attract birds with its abundant foliage and promise of safe shelter and nesting locations.
David Austin English Rose 'A Shropshire Lad' grows between 5 and 8 feet tall and is cold hardy in zones 4 - 9; the color is a soft yellow peachy pink and is extremely fragrant. This vigorous tea rose will do very well as a hedgerow in full sun, but tolerates some shade. Large rose hips develop in late summer to early autumn, and will provide a tasty treat for lots of fruit and berry-eating birds like Northern cardinals, titmice, cedar waxwings and catbirds.
Do You Love Roses?
More Advantages of Planting Roses for Birds
In addition to the fruit produced by the roses in the fall, there are all manner of caterpillars, larvae and assorted bugs and spiders present throughout the summer months. And don’t forget about the nectar-rich flowers that attract not only birds, but butterflies, beneficial insects, and bees. Plenty of overwintering insects and spiders hide under, along, and inside bark and branches. They may be freeze dried, but they still taste good to a bird when the snow covers the ground and its tummy is growling!
Building materials are handy and include leaves and small twigs. When the weather is nasty, dense canes and foliage keep Mom, Pop and babies cozy and dry. In short, climbing roses are a one-stop shop for many nesting pairs.
If you happen to be the Neighborhood Watch bird, then a rose bush gives you superb vantage points in all directions for spotting approaching predators, while you stay safely hidden from view.
Your backyard birds will find these plants irresistible (including Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal)!
4 Basics of Growing Roses from White Flower Farm
How to Get the Most Rose Blooms on Your Trellis from AshDownRoses.com
Roses Attract Beneficial Insects
Fragrant roses are irresistible to butterflies, honeybees, and other pollinators, too. I am always looking for ways to restore habitat for all wildlife, and that includes our disappearing bees. The mysterious 'honeybee colony collapse' syndrome that has been decimating our honeybee hives is due, at least in part, to the profuse overuse of toxic chemical insecticides and herbicides. These poisons are indiscriminate and kill all insects and plants.
A part of our native songbird population has decreased by as much as 60% in the last several decades. This is a direct result of chemicals and loss of habitat. The situation can be turned around, but it will have to be done soon. We risk losing whole species of birds!
I think the best solution is to plant lots and lots of native flowers, bushes, shrubs and trees to attract natural insect controls like birds and beneficial insects. Anything we can do to increase the bird population and eliminate the toxins in our environment is essential to restoring a more natural balance.
'You can create yard and garden habitats that Help Birds to Survive and Thrive'
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