The brilliant red berries have been decorative since late summer on the Hawthorne trees growing in the scrub on an empty field in our neighborhood. I walk by these trees almost every day while on my neighborhood stroll, observing the seasonal birds with their busy activities in the trees. Perched on a branch or flying from one branch to another pecking at bugs, seeds and the bright red plump berries hanging from the branches.
As the season matures, the leaves wither losing their color then leave the branches of the Hawthorne trees but the berries remain firm to the bare branches as they turn a deep burnt red. Mostly the winter robins and flickers are attracted to the winter berries left on the stark gnarly dark branches for their main food supply. The summer and fall foods have diminished during the cold, gray, wet and dormant months and they need a high powered carbohydrate food to keep them warm and active. They are there everyday harvesting as many berries that their beaks can hold before competing birds get to the berries first. Now, only a few really dark berries remain on the bare branches.
The young trees plus the overly mature trees now covered with thick lichen standout against the dark evergreens growing at the edge of the field. The rugged old trees with the lichen clinging to the trunks and branches will eventually decay, break apart and fall to the ground creating cover and nests for the small birds in the spring.
The young trees are fast growers; next spring their leaves will appear, small birds will hide in the mass of leaves, build their nests and sing again to attract mates plus bring joy to still and quiet listeners. Again, the trees will bear fruit painting spring colors to the native flora and attract the wild fauna.