Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Birds are attracted to insect damaged trees




Who knew? Recently gardening for insects to attract birds has been making the rounds in gardening circles. After all if you want to attract birds that eat insects, you need to offer them food, same as you do for your suet and seed eating birds.

It turns out that birds are also attracted to trees that show insect damage. So don’t be too quick to lop off those damaged limbs. Birds use the damage on the trees and increased levels of volatile organic compounds to locate the insect damaged trees.

An understanding of the evolution of potential signals from plants to the predators of their herbivores may provide exciting examples of co-evolution among multiple trophic levels. Understanding the mechanism behind the attraction of predators to plants is crucial to conclusions about co-evolution. For example, insectivorous birds are attracted to herbivore-damaged trees without seeing the herbivores or the defoliated parts, but it is not known whether birds use cues from herbivore-damaged plants with a specific adaptation of plants for this purpose. . . [ read more From Plants to Birds: Higher Avian Predation Rates in Trees Responding to Insect Herbivory]