I think people who are aware of birds but would never call themselves birders don’t pay as much attention to migration apart from “it’s a spring and fall thing.” I love migration and I love how it stretches from August and well into December where I live.

immature waxwing


And I love are all the Cedar Waxwings in my neck of the woods. When people ask what they can do to attract more birds to their yard, one of the best answers is, “To plant more fruit bearing trees.”

The challenge with this is that it’s unpredictable when and what will eat the fruit. If you have a showy mountain ash as in the above photo, the berries don’t ripen on the exact days you are home and will a flock or robins find them before the waxwings? It’s also kind of a long term strategy–you have to wait for the tree to grow, the berries to ripen. But if you do plant more fruit bearing trees like ash, hackberry, cherry, magnolia, serviceberry, dogwood–it will be a way to add some birds to the yard at different times of the year–and these are birds that don’t really go for the sunflowers in your feeders.  Keep in mind that some berries are last resort foods–like sumac. No one seems interested in that until it’s had a chance to sit out over the winter, lose some of it’s moisture and get a tad sweeter.

Also, keep in mind that fruit bearing trees can lead to drunk birds. You may have to be prepared to let the birds “sleep it off” around your home.

waxwing buckthorn


And try to go with native plants in your area.  Birds love the buckthorn but they cannot live on buckthorn alone.  Avoid the temptation to leave it up just because the birds will eat it.

Written by Birdchick
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped. She loves birds - it’s just the way she’s wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. She runs the popular birding blog, Birdchick.com, and has been in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities’ TV and radio stations. She’s a professional speaker and story-teller and her writing can be found in several publications including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, and Birding Business. She wrote the books 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know, Disapproving Rabbits and City Birds/Country Birds. When she’s not digiscoping, tweeting or banding birds, she’s a part-time park ranger and award-winning beekeeper.