Not only do fall and winter berries add a splash of color to your yard during our gray Oregon winters, but they're also an important food source for many of our migrating and wintering songbirds - like robins, cedar waxwings (left), varied and hermit thrushes, spotted towhees, and Townsend's solitaires. Many berries are rich in fats, and help tide the birds through the cold weather when insect populations ( a favorite bird food!) decline.
Fall-fruiting native plants are at the top of the "favorites" list for our local birds - both as great food sources and for the shelter they provide. Natives also tend to be sturdy and low-maintenance; making them a welcome addition for most landscapes. Some of our favorites for the Rogue Valley and surrounding areas include: Arctostaphylos, Mahonia, Myrica, Rhamnus, Rosa, Symphoricarpos, and Vaccinium ovatum (evergreen huckleberry).
There are also a number of hardy non-native shrubs and that are great winter food sources for birds, and these plants also provide some nice visual interest for our fall and winter gardens. They include a number of plants already popular with local gardeners: Aronia, Autumn Olive (photo to left), Carnelian Cherry, Crabapple, Dogwood, Hawthorn, Holly, and Virginia Creeper.
Fall is a great time of year to add to your wildlife-friendly garden. The warm soil and cool air help your new plants get off to a great start - with roots having a chance to get established and grow out over the winter. And the overwintering birds in your yard will thank you!