Bird cherry

A shrub-like singing tree

Bird cherry, photo Jussi Helimäki.

The bird cherry (Prunus padus) often grows in the form of shrubs, but in favourable conditions it can also grow into a single-trunked tree. Bird cherries often grow into leaning thickets, forming impenetrable shrubs that provide plenty of shade.

The low branches of bird cherries are typically home to thrush nightingales and Eurasian blackcap warbles. The tops of taller bird cherries are also often inhabited by singing icterine warblers. In the early summer, the leaves of bird cherries are often devoured by bird-cherry ermine caterpillars, which cover the trees in thick, white webs. The bird cherries hardly seem to mind, however, and quickly grow replacement leaves, which are typically somewhat smaller than the original ones.