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