I have been enjoying quite a show of avian wildlife visitors to my bird-planted Oak tree that is in full view of my dining area windows as well as the small outdoor patio. It is providing endless entertainment especially between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. That seems to be a favorite time for the gang to show up.
Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia) is a fast growing tree that can achieve a height of 60 to 70 feet with a spread of 35 to 45 feet. Also known as Darlington or Diamond Oak, it has a dense, symmetrical crown and is semi-evergreen. Mine loses it leaves slowly in January as the new leaves appear so the tree is never completely bare.
One drawback is its relatively short life span of 50 to 70 years. Easily propagated by seed as is evident at my place where I find saplings growing here and there, planted by birds and mammals that enjoy the bounty of acorns and insect delectables that this tree produces.
Oaks in general are wildlife attractants since they are “…important food source for many animals, including white-tailed deer, raccoon, squirrels, wild turkey, ducks, quail, smaller birds, and rodents. Swamp laurel oak ranked second in quantity and frequency of acorns consumed by wild turkey in Florida.”
They are larval hosts for many insect species including Horaces Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) and White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) butterflies. That, in turn, draws in the birds that rely on these proteins, especially during nesting season given that baby birds can’t eat seeds.
I decided to take a look back at a number of birds who have visited this particular oak in my landscape.
This oak is tolerant of wet sites so if you have an area with seasonal flooding, it will happily stand up to the inundation.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Publication #ENH-707.
Florida Native Plant Society http://www.fnps.org/
Wunderlin, R. P., B. F. Hansen, A. R. Franck, and F. B. Essig. 2017. Atlas of Florida Plants (http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/).[S. M. Landry and K. N. Campbell (application development), USF Water Institute.] Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Carey, Jennifer H. 1992. Quercus hemisphaerica, Q. laurifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [2017, February 10].