46 species of birds use the Eastern White Pine tree for either food, cover or nesting, making it one of the most beneficial trees for birds. That’s according to a book by Richard M. DeGraaf called ‘Trees, Shrubs and Vines for Attracting Birds,’published by the University Press of New England. Gardening columnist Henry Homeyer has been testing this out himself since the ‘70s, and confirms that the trees are beloved by a beautiful variety of birds, including blue jays, in a recently published piece at the Providence Journal.
“I dug up half a dozen small evergreens, including a 5-foot-tall white pine seedling in the summer of 1972,” says Homeyer. “All were ‘volunteers’ growing in a meadow near my house. They have done well, growing to mature size and blocking the view of my backyard from the road. According to the list of birds using white pine, the seeds are the favorite food of the northern bobwhite, red-bellied woodpecker and spruce grouse – none of which I have seen in it.”
“But it is also a favorite for some of my good bird buddies – black-capped chickadee, nuthatches, northern cardinal and juncos. They go from the bird feeder on my deck to the pine and back, and enjoy resting out of the wind and away from Winnie and Sammy, my two resident cats.”
Homeyer has some tips for growing your own white pines to see them grow as tall as his own bird-sheltering tree, including planting them away from roads to avoid damage from road salt. Check it out over at the Providence Journal website.
Photo of a bald eagle in an Eastern White Pine tree via Wikimedia Commons