Welcome to my Bird Blog!

Welcome to all my fellow bird lovers and gardeners! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Migratory bird populations have taken a nose dive in the past 40 years. But you can help bring their numbers back by creating beneficial, beautiful and fun habitats in your own backyard. Discover favorite plants and environments that shelter and feed colorful songbirds, as well as how to make them feel welcome by offering their preferred natural foods.

Grandma Pearl
(Connie Smith)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wild Grapes Attract a Variety of Fruit-Eating Birds

Cedar Waxwings  Photographed by Minette Layne
If you happen to be a Cedar Waxwing, or a Grey Catbird, then you are always on the hunt for wild grapes.  You know how to stab the fruit with your beak and then tip your head so that the delicious juice runs into your beak and down the hatch.  This is a treat that just can’t be beat!
Grey Catbird Photographed by Matthew Petroff
Even in the wintertime, wild grapes continue to sustain hardy birds.  Those that have not been plucked earlier in the season will remain on the vines as a frozen delicacy.  Loaded with vitamins and minerals, the fruits offer lots of antioxidants to strengthen a bird’s immune system and help maintain energy levels.  The fruits are much smaller than that of domestic grapes, but the tart flavor is concentrated to pack a major grape punch when used in wine, jelly and jam. 
Wild Grapevine growing in my ditch!
by Grandma Pearl

Vitis riparia, or Riverbank Grape is native to North America, and is used to hybridize other varieties to create hardier (some to -70 degrees F.), and more disease resistant fruits. And it grows everywhere, quickly and profusely; but being riparian, it does best in sunny riverbank habitats, and appreciates rich soil with a slightly acidic ph:  5.5 to 6.0, but will tolerate a range from 5.0 to 8.0 .  In some parts of the country wild grapes are considered noxious weeds.  In fact, we had a wild grape vine growing on one of our 75 foot maple trees.  It competed for the available nutrients and light, and eventually won the battle. Wild grape vines like sunshine and moderately moist conditions.  However, judicious pruning and training on an arbor or trellis can keep this fast-growing vine under control.

Learn How to Make My Autumn Hummingbird Feeder Wreath
from Grandma Pearl

Old dead grape vines can be used to make decorative wreaths for both indoor and outdoor seasonal decorations.  I don’t mind if there are leaves and tendrils still attached to the vines.  I think they add to the rustic natural feeling this type of wreath evokes. The longer the lengths of vines, the fuller your wreath will be.  Wear gloves and use pruning shears or long handled loppers to cut them.  To more easily work with the stiff vine material, be sure to have a bucket of warm water on hand for soaking.  Allow to soak for several hours.                          
·         Either use a metal wreath form from the craft store, or wind 6 to 8 of the grape vines around the proper-sized form--such as a metal bucket that has been inverted.  Make a regular old overhand knot with the vines, removing the wreath shape from the bucket; and then interweave each vine end in and out around the wreath.  Poke the end inside the wreath where it won’t show, and
·         Secure by wrapping 22 gauge paddle wire several times around the wreath in 3 or 4 different places.    

Video showing how to make a grapevine wreath

·         Fashion a loop for hanging from the paddle wire, and secure it to the back of the wreath.
·         You can maneuver the wreath to make sure it is the shape you prefer.   Decorate it with seasonal silk flowers, acorns, pine cones, interesting dried grasses, wheat or oat stems, etc.
·         Another way to make a grapevine wreath from crafts.creativebug.com

If you prefer not to make your own, grapevine wreaths can be found for sale at craft shops and discount stores.  
Grandma Pearl                                                   

Learn how to prune wild grapes and train them along a fence, trellis or old tree stump.  
Make this feeder wreath to help fuel hummingbirds for their autumn flight back to South America!
This easy-to-make wreath can decorate your window long after you have removed the hummingbird feeder!
by Grandma Pearl

No comments: