A mystery blog reader needs help. Today s/he commented with this question on one of my earlier posts, What big hips you have, Rose!
And the question is … I have a question for all and sundry! I want to plant a rugosa rose – it has abundant hips but they are quite large. I have heard from some that birds do not or cannot eat large hips – that I should select a variety with smaller hips. Does anyone have experience with rugosa roses, hips and success with birds?? Would love an answer before I order and plant this new rose. Thanks!!
Well, I just took a brief look around the internet and I found what I think might be a good source to get more information …. an arboretum. Click here to see what the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois has this to say about birds and rugosa rose hips.
The article on the arboretum website says this about the rugosa rose hips, “Birds Attracted: 42+ species, including waxwing, grosbeaks, vireo, and chickadee.” 42+ species! It would be nice if they listed them all. That tells me there is no lack of birds that will munch on those hips! Well, chickadees are quite small birds. Vireos are as well. Waxwings and grosbeaks are no larger than robins, if that. The smallest birds at my feeders, such as pine siskins and gold finches sit in my crab tree all winter and pick at the crab apples that are a fairly good size. They don’t eat the entire apple, they pick at it and eat it in bites. But I don’t know if rose hips lend themselves to being nibbled upon or eaten whole.
Can you help? Any rose hip / wild bird experts in the house who can post an answer here?