The bird sanctuary features an impressive variety of trees. Some have been around for decades, while others have been recently planted. Being so large they can provide more food, shade, shelter and nesting areas for birds than other plant types, though certainly all are needed.
They offer a safe place to build their nests and provide plenty of cover to hide from possible predators.
For food, they are home to vast numbers of insects and produce thousands of seeds or berries.
Our Big-Toothed Aspen are doing well in the richer soil of the former parkland within our sanctuary. It is host to a great many butterfly larva including skippers, viceroys and admirals.
These sun and sand lovers thrive in this harsh, dry environment. They are a magnet to wildlife, providing food for caterpillars and other insects, and attracting birds to eat these insects. Birds and mammals alike feast on the acorns.
This is a dominant tree in our “remnant area,” the section of the bird sanctuary that had been part of an original wild grove mostly cut down when Northwestern University built its new visitors center. It is a favorite of many bird species.
These trees provide shelter and food for insects, birds, and other animals. Its leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of several butterflies and the larvae of beetles and weevils, providing food for songbirds, woodpeckers and other species.
Cottonwoods get their name from the fluffy cotton-like seeds produced by the female tree. This tree grows rapidly, sometimes up to 100 feet tall. Beavers love them, requiring us to wrap the trees with a protective four-foot-high fencing.
An excellent shade tree, the hackberry is easily identified by its ridged bark and many insect galls on its leaves in summer. It acts as a host plant to butterflies, and its berries attract a variety of birds.
We have a large Hawthorn near our entrance gate and several smaller ones planted in other parts of the sanctuary. Their berries attract robins, cardinals, finches and other thrushes.
Four of our jack pines, which grow well in sandy soil, were donated in 2017 by local members of Rotary International’s Green Committee. The trees provide shelter and food for insects, birds, and other animals visiting the sanctuary.
These trees get their name from the velvet fuzz on the young trunks and its new branches that look like the horns of young buck deer. Their red leaves and berries provide beautiful color in the fall months.
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