Cedar Waxwings Discover American Highbush Cranberry

American Highbush Cranberry as the leaves turn in the fall

American Highbush Cranberry as the leaves turn in the fall

We planted four American Highbush Cranberry bushes (Viburnum trilobum Wentworth) about six years ago in hopes of attracting birds to these lovely native plants.  Their spring flowers resemble white lace cap hydrangeas and they have large red fruit with foliage that turns from green to a deep burgundy in color in the fall.

This is how the flowers look in the spring

This is how the flowers look in the spring

We have gradually been replacing our landscaping with native, bird friendly, deer resistant, low maintenance, attractive plants (yes, there are some!) and I had considered these plants to be good candidates.  The Highbush Cranberries had particularly heavy crops last year and I hoped to finally see the birds using these berries for winter sustenance.  The foliage and berries were particularly attractive last fall, but seemingly not to birds as the berries remained untouched.  I blamed the mild winter and plentiful food at first, but as the season wore on and the berries shriveled, I began to wonder if these bushes really were bird friendly.  A friend told me that some cultivars have such big berries the birds can’t eat them.  Yesterday as I was walking to my garden with a tray of onion seedlings I heard the high buzzy songs of a flock of Cedar Waxwings toward the area where the bushes line the road.  Turning, I saw at least 40 birds in a frenzy, darting in and out of the branches of the Cranberry bushes.  I ran to the window nearest them with my binoculars and confirmed that they were Cedar Waxwings.  They cleaned the bushes of all berries within 20 minutes.

One of at least forty Cedar Waxwings enjoying our Cranberries

One of at least forty Cedar Waxwings enjoying our Cranberries

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Rahul said,

    I read that you had a good crop of cranberries with Viburnum trilobum Wentworth. I am interested in planting this same variety in my yard and would appreciate learning where you got your Wentworth plants from?
    Thanks and enjoy the waxwings.

    Like


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