Today, all around our farm, I see the promise of a future for many of the lovely wild birds that reside here year ’round, or which will travel through during migration.
Wild raspberries are in bloom. These native bushes form large brambles in the shade of mature trees. That’s where I often hear the Warbling Vireos sing in the cool shadows of the brier. They also take-hold in a safe spot along the hedge row of an old fence line, presenting themselves in the bright sunshine. Wild raspberries are opportunist that find a place which will support their existence as they flower and then grow fruits that promise to nourish many birds and other wildlife later in the summer. Just when the animals need an extra boost to raise their young, the sweet berries ripen for the taking, but not for those who cannot learn how to negotiate the thorns. Little birds do not seem to struggle moving along the sharp spikes that would deter a larger animal. That’s why I think of these wild berries as fruits designed specifically for the birds.
Brilliant white in color, the small, delicate flowers run along the plant’s long vines that often hang over in perfect arches that just scream “wedding” to me. And what is a wedding if it’s not a promise for a future?
I’ve filmed many Bluebirds taking ripe berries to their growing chicks. And, certainly the extra boost of energy helps those parents survive the intense effort it takes to not only feed themselves but also their brood. Thrushes like Robins and Bluebirds love fruit. Cedar Waxwings, woodpeckers, Mockingbirds, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Cardinals, Orioles and some Finches all eat fruit. Some people think of wild raspberries as a nuisance weed worthy of eradicating. I have a different opinion. Allowing the wild raspberries to thrive makes me feel like a good host for all the wildlife that lives on our farm gone wild.
This is a Dickcissel perched in a wild raspberry bush.