The redbud trees growing around my home are now in full bloom. These native trees are pleasing to the eye and are currently feeding a surprising number of my backyard neighbors.
One thing that is impossible to notice is that redbud blossoms attract an amazing number of bees and other pollinators. In fact, on a warm late winter or early spring day my largest redbud seems to buzz. The buzzing sound is made by the countless numbers of bees foraging among the dark pink blossoms that cover the tree’s branches.
If the redbud blossoms do not fall before the year’s first ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive, I will have a chance of spotting a hummer or two visiting the trees flowers. Although redbud blooms are not the greatest source of nectar for the birds, when it is one of the few nectar plants that are blooming at this time of the year, they will make feeding forays to the tree.
Birds such as northern cardinals and cedar waxwings sometimes visit redbud trees in full bloom. They are not there seeking nectar or pollen. To the contrary, they actually eat the redbud’s buds and flowers. Although these birds might seem to eat more than their share of these tasty morsels, there are more than enough blossoms to feed the birds and pollinators.
Since the redbud’s blooms appear before its leaves, while I am admiring the tree’s floral show, from time to time I sometimes spot tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees and downy woodpeckers hunting for insects and their eggs hidden on the bark of the tree. Once the leaves appear, it is far more difficult to see these birds foraging for food.
My only regret is that the redbud’s floral show is way too short. When redbud blossoms litter the ground, I know I must wait 12 months to enjoy its next stunning floral show and the wide variety of animals drawn to it.