Oak - Quercus
Native to USA
Highlighted White Oak Species: White Oak - Quercus alba, Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor, Chestnut Oak - Quercus montana
Highlighted Red Oak Species: Red Oak - Quercus rubra, Black Oak - Quercus velutina, Pin Oak - Quercus palustris, Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea
Long revered as symbol of strength, the Oak is the king of the forest canopy and probably the most vital of all tree species for wildlife – especially wild birds. Oak trees highlighted in this profile range between 50 and 90 feet in height, with a 40 to 80-foot spread (depending on the species). Oak trees host more than 530 species of caterpillars, more than any other tree! In addition, they host many other insect species such as beetles and arthropods. For these reasons, Oak trees are the favorite of insect gleaning birds like Warblers and Tanagers (among many, many more). The fruit of the Oak Tree is their signature acorn, which many wildlife species rely upon, the acorn is a key component to the winter diet of many birds – including Blue Jays and Woodpeckers. In eastern America, there are two main types of Oak trees: White Oak and Red Oak. White Oak trees drop larger, more digestible acorns than Red Oaks and they do it annually, whereas Red Oak Acorns usually drop every two years. While both acorns are readily eaten by wildlife, White Oak acorns are usually consumed first. Oak trees are also considered to be one of the strongest deciduous trees for shelter, due to their large branches, broad leaves, and tendency to hold their leaves later into autumn than many other deciduous trees. Oaks are also incredibly durable (even when dead) as they have high resistance to diseases and insect exploitation. Due to these characteristics Oaks are also a very popular nesting location for breeding birds (including cavity nesters). The Northern Parula is particularly interested in Oak because they nest in Spanish Moss which often grows on Oak branches. When it comes to attracting and sustaining birds there is arguably no better option than the Oak tree. You should always begin a bird-watching session by checking nearby Oak trees.
Birds Most Commonly Associated with Oak
Baltimore Oriole Brown Thrasher Downy Woodpecker Insectivorous Birds Northern Flicker Red-Bellied Woodpecker Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Scarlet Tanager Tufted Titmouse Warblers White-Breasted Nuthatch Wild Turkey