Do you get birds nesting in your roses

June 16, 2019

I have heard that roses will attract birds.... but I never see them in my roses. I get an occasional bird. I have even put up a couple of feeders... Got a couple of cardinals until the rats and squirrels found them. Feeders came down. I now have a bird bath... I never see any birds except a crow... a crow that I don't want, but I let him be.... The roses that I have are hybrid teas, and David Austins. The Austins are very busy, and I would have thought it would have been a great nesting place... but don't see any... how about you guys.... how do you get birds to come... or do you not care if they do or don't.

I also grow flowers that have seeds that are suppose to bring birds: zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, and salvia.... any other suggestions... and if you know how to keep the rats and squirrels away ( I even put hot sauce on the seeds) let me know.

Comments (44)

  • jerijen

    Because they drew rats and ground squirrels, we moved our seed feeding from under the house eaves, to some hanging feeders. They have perches that close when something heavy lands on them, and we hung them from a couple of tall obelisks. Thus far, we have mostly defeated the squirrels.

    The birds pay little heed to the roses. We do find nests, tho. Mostly, last year's deserted nests, up in the tops of climbers -- though I suspect many birds nest inside 'Fortuniana.'

    Mourning Doves like to feed on the ground, which works OK on the hillside.

    We'd like to have them closer, but it's more practical this way.

    sharon2079 thanked jerijen
  • catspat

    There was a scrub jay nest in the top of "Apricot Glow" on the arbor, below, last year (can't see it in the photo -- it was well-buried) The rose is very well-armed, so it was a well-fortified position. Otherwise I haven't found too many nests in the roses, but there are many places within the humungous ones that I don't see.

    sharon2079 thanked catspat
  • jerijen

    Catspat -- When I deadheaded 'Mel's Heritage' I found a big nest right at the top. It was well-hidden, and plenty big enough for a Mocker or a Scrub Jay.

  • toolbelt68

    First off it seems like each bird is different as to what they eat and where they want to nest so you should start by researching which ones you want hanging around your place. Some also only stop in on their way going up North or Down South.

    Here are a few:

    Humming birds only require a hanging sugar water feeder. You will need to know the time they pass through or arrive in your area so you can have one ready for them. They build their nest using spider webs and flakes of tree bark on a tree branch. The nests are so small you most likely won’t even see them.

    Mourning Doves and Pigeons eat about the same food and normally build their nest inside buildings or up under eves. A Mourning Doves nest consists of just a few sticks laid on a tree branch. Sun flower seeds will draw them to your home. Just toss the seed out on the ground where they can get at it. Don’t toss it in the evenings as you want it all gone by then.

    Robins like to hide their nests so, yes they will build them in the roses if they can find a spot deep down inside the plant. I’ve also seen then on the curved section of down spouts up under the house eves. Since they raise most of their young during the rainy season worms are the main menu. If you put chemicals on the lawn that kills the worms you won’t have robins around.

    If you provide them with a heated bird bath during the winter you will have a lot of birds as they love it. I’ve seen 15 birds taking a bath at the same time, with ice around the edge of the bath, and it’s snowing. Starlings will visit the bath on their way home from the fields so plan on cleaning it out each day. A deck railing bath is a good choice.

    Sparrows like to nest in bird houses and your home so make sure there are no openings. Starlings are also house invaders.

    Wrens have a nasty habit of filling any birdhouse it doesn’t want to use with small sticks so other birds can’t use it.

    Blue bird require close monitoring to make sure other birds don’t take over their nest so be prepared to keep track of their nest box.

    That should get you started, have fun…..

    sharon2079 thanked toolbelt68
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    We have tons of Cardinals but we dont feed them. They get into the chickens' pen and share their food. They really like the hens layer feed which has a bit of extra calcium in it lol.

    I love that Apricot Glow, is that available anywhere?

    sharon2079 thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • catspat

    Apricot Glow is currently only available in Europe according to HMF, sultry_jasmine. I got mine from Vintage, not long before it closed. It is an excellent rose, though a once-bloomer.

  • seil zone 6b MI

    We've had a robin's nest in our weigela bush but never in the roses. A lot of my bigger roses are out in the bed on the street. Lots of busy traffic there so I doubt anyone would nest there. The ones on the patio are potted and mostly minis at that so I don't think they would be big enough to hide a nest in. We're also surrounded by trees and hedges so those make better nesting places I think.

    sharon2079 thanked seil zone 6b MI
  • toolbelt68

    Seil, check out my post about Baby Robin in the Roses. I posted a picture that shows the nest is in a rose bush, next to the street. My friends mow the grass between that fence and the road without the mom moving off the nest.

  • pink rose(9b, FL )

    Yes ! some unknown bird built a nest inside Mr. Lincon rose . I found out when I was pruning after the recent flush this month. sadly I have removed the empty nest because I can't keep Mr.Lincon without cutting or pruning , but felt super guilty afterwards . I am thinking of shovel pruning him in fact . the blooms fry in our heat and blow away in a day plus it gets super tall .

    sharon2079 thanked pink rose(9b, FL )
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    We have a few hummers although I don't feed them; there must be enough natural food sources for them. Blue jays, doves, quail, sparrows and other small birds I can't identify are in my garden, but none of my roses are tall enough to have nests, which is a pity. A garden is not complete without at least one climbing rose, and since I lost Reve d'Or that was against a hot wall I've been without, but I hope to remedy that this year.

    catspat, your 'Apricot Glow' is a rose that dreams are made of. That is one of the most beautiful arbors I've ever seen.

    Lisa, Mel's Heritage and that beautiful white climber are another wonderful sight.

    Edited: I just remedied the situation. I ordered another Reve d'Or from the ARE, yay!

  • Ken Wilkinson

    I guess I'm blessed to live in a natural bird haven. The Hummers feed out front from their feeder and everyone else (almost everyone) feed out back. We have a nice shade tree that I have a big feeder in plus two baskets for suit. Then at the edge of the tree we have a bird bath. LOTS of different birds. I've learned to sit in a chair under the tree and let the birds get use to me being around. Titmouse, Wrens, Cardinals and Blue Jays will feed right on my lap. Morning Doves at my feet. The Mocking Birds are all over the place. They just won't feed from the feeders. Even with us taking care of a large feral cat community, the birds have learned to watch the cats. The cats keep all the rodents from being around. No nest's in any of my bushs but we have plenty of trees and brush and old sheds and barns in the neighborhood.

    sharon2079 thanked Ken Wilkinson
  • bart_2015

    I've found darling little nests in my roses,always in big,messy-growing plants that I've mainly ignored and let grow as they wanted: specifically, May Queen and Guirlande Rose.

    sharon2079 thanked bart_2015
  • toolbelt68

    I find it amazing that the birds know if you care for them. A few years ago a Dove made a nest on top of a trellis. They make such a flimsy nest that I was worried the eggs would fall through it so I took a square piece of screen and attached it below the nest. No big deal you say… she was on the nest while I attached the screen under her!!! She never gave any indication that she was worried. She raised two young ones.

  • sharon2079

    toolbelt, it was your baby robin story that made me ask this question.... because I would love to have some songbirds come into my garden.... I don't think I have ever seen a robin here in South Florida... not only in my garden but in any garden or park.... don't hear anybody talking about them either. So, I hope to get more of those that do come in this area....

    JeriJen, I don't think I have seen a picture of your garden like that before... I think I have only seen some of your rose close ups... I REALLY like the garden picture.... and of course the picture of the birds.

  • jacqueline9CA

    Birds like our garden, which has lots of tall climbing roses, and large, (by which I mean 15 feet tall and 20 fee wide...) shrubs, and wild areas back by the garage, and some very tall bushy trees. I have 4 bird baths, 3 bird feeders (they hang from poles with horizontal arms, and my DH has put round things ships use to deter rats on the arms to keep off the squirrels - so far it works fine. Oh, and we have a hummingbird feeder 4 inches outside of one of our bathroom windows - you can see them up close! The birds nest in the very tall climbing roses, and also inside of the dense tall shrubs. In addition to the nesting sites they like, I think the water is the most important - I see birds drinking an bathing in the 4 birdbaths (one up on a pedestal, one about 1 foot off the ground, and 2 on the ground). The other thing, of course, is that we do not spray any poisons on anything, so the bug population is healthy, and the birds eat them too.


    sharon2079 thanked jacqueline9CA
  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)

    Sharon, we do get Robin's here Bec we have seen it many times. We get all sort of birds since FL is very warm in winters.
    My daughter, 16, found a baby bird in May. She call me at work and was so worried Bec she try to put it back but my ladder was so short . It fell into my rose bed from a tree (at least 40 ft tall ). She call Wildlife and follow instructions very closely meanwhile the baby was in the house Bec she was afraid that cats might make a meal of it or injured it. She was more worked out Bec she can her baby's parents squawking so loud that she can hear them inside.

    she has a video of it too but only pics appears on my gallery. Haha !
    It is Red bellied woodpecker.
    . They are from Texas and all the way up to Canada. Parents got the baby and went back to the nest. Happy ending .


    sharon2079 thanked Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)
  • sharon2079

    Plumeria, what a cute baby bird.

  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)

    Ya, really cute. Could not fly and was learning actually. The video was so was hopping and falling all over the ground. According to wildlife it takes roughly about half an hour to 45 mins to learn by parents guidance. I never thought of wildlife but I am so glad my daughter was thinking ahead of me..


  • hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

    Happy the baby bird got back to the nest. Hooray for your daughter!

    I've found hummingbird, warbler, house finch, and towhee nests in my roses. 'Tamora' is especially popular.

    All the nests we find are lined with white dog hair. Plenty of that around here.

    sharon2079 thanked hoovb zone 9 sunset 23
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    What an adorable picture of your pups, hoovb. The birdies would be foolish not to avail themselves of this source for a supremely warm and cozy nest.

  • Plumeria Girl (Florida ,9b)

    Hoovb, that is funny how you found all the nest has lining of your dogs' hair. Smart birds !! Cozy too :)
    Both your dogs are beautiful and they look so huggable :)


  • sharon2079 thanked Cathy Kaufell
  • bart_2015

    Hoovb, the last nest I found out at my garden,in Guirlande Rose, seems to have long grey hairs in it, that look almost silvery. I wonder if this could posibly be MY hair-most of it fell out while I was doing chemotherapy,and it had turned quite grey. If it is, I hope it's a good, magical sign of hope for the future. I do save the nests, since I've found them whilst pruning/taming roses that have gotten out-of-hand, and I'm not sure if birds ever re-cycle them anyway. Do any of you know?

  • suncoastflowers

    I haven't found them in my roses but they aren't that big. We have had cardinals nesting in gardenia and a bunny in my plumeria. Little house wrens nest in my ferns.

  • toolbelt68

    Another Robin just finished building a nest on the same fence line about 20 feet from mom and warrior kids..... I hope the young survive as there is little coverage over their heads and we have hawks, eagles, ravens in the area.

    sharon2079 thanked toolbelt68
  • enchantedrosez5bma

    Never saw a bird nest but did have an itty bitty toad sleeping in a blossom once :-)

  • totoro z7b Md

    A robin red breast built a nest in my Awakening on a trellis.

    Some other grey bird in a tea olive shrub.

    Another nest in my wisteria vine on the fence.

    Many birds residing in such a small yard!

    sharon2079 thanked totoro z7b Md
  • toolbelt68

    So far I've found 5 Robin nest in the roses, 2 on the front fence and 3 along side the house. All but 1 within 4 feet of the ground.

    sharon2079 thanked toolbelt68
  • Rosefolly

    Jeri, I too enjoyed the picture of your garden.

    I find that birds do not seem to be interested in roses as food sources and have never had them eat the hips. As for nesting, perhaps I pay too much attention to the plants and they feel the nests would be disturbed, which might be true, even if by accident. Here I see a lot of hummingbirds and juncos, as well as occasional visits from other birds which I have not identified. The hummers like all the salvias and other tube shaped flowers. The juncos can be found merrily scratching in the debris on the ground. I love them both. I also love the little fence lizards which are helping to protect us from Lyme disease. Thank you, fence lizards!

    I have found birds nests in the grape arbor and once found one on the ground. It was empty. I suspect some predator found it before I did.

    And just the other day I identified a varied thrush in the garden. Probably been around all this time, but I just noticed it.

    sharon2079 thanked Rosefolly
  • Sylvia Wendel

    At our old place, in 2016 doves nested in a hanging plant. i was lucky enough to see the babies take their first flights!

    Here, for the last few days I’ve seen a small brown bird — wish I knew what it was — taking threads from the same basket and flying off with them. Glad to know I’m helping them nest.

    sharon2079 thanked Sylvia Wendel
  • Sylvia Wendel

    We get lizards too. Mosquito eaters! Yay!

  • catspat

    Mockingbirds eat the hips of Darlow's Enigma during the winter here, during breaks when there are no Pyracantha or Toyon berries. Squirrels like the hips on Lyda Rose and also Golden Wings.

    sharon2079 thanked catspat
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    Birds love those coco fiber basket liners. They have one of mine stripped down to just a tiny piece remaning lol. All the dirt and begonia bulbs in there have long fallen out.

  • toolbelt68

    And yet another Robin nest..... here are 3 shots of the building process. 1 arriving with building material, placement, and off for another load.

    sharon2079 thanked toolbelt68
  • jerijen

    Last month, I posted that, when we pruned, we found an empty nest under 'Mel's Heritage' and 'Sombreuil, Cl.'

    We've had a lot of Mockingbird traffic, lately, so I wasn't surprised to learn that there's a new, larger nest, next to last year's model --

    And a very, very indignant Mama Mocker, who requested that I leave.

    sharon2079 thanked jerijen
  • mad_gallica

    For several years, there was a robin nest high up in Quadra. This spring, I found an old nest in R. hugonis. So the birds do like the big roses.

    A titmouse trying to fly off with as much cat fur as birdly possible. It kept putting down the amount it had in attempting to get more.

    sharon2079 thanked mad_gallica
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    Those titmouse babies are very lucky. How sweet to catch momma in the act.

  • sharon2079

    I still do not have any birds nesting in my yard.... I did have a crane walking by for the last two days.... and I have some egrets coming maybe once a week.... I think they are coming now that my collie is gone.... I would rather have my collie.... but will take birds..... hopefully in the fall when it cools down I can get a some song birds. I am enjoying the pictures of the birds, their babies and their nest.

  • toolbelt68

    Should anyone be considering providing the birds with building material please DON’T put any Easter egg basket grass out. A few years back I found a robin hanging on our wooden fence all twisted up in the fake grass. They can handle regular grass but not the plastic stuff.

  • toolbelt68

    Update on the new Robin nest….. 3 eggs and counting…. soon to have young ones.

    Mom robin ran off a squirrel today that got too close. That squirrel escaped with his life!!! Boy was she mad… lol

    I'd take a picture of the eggs, but mom didn't raise any fools so I'm keeping my distant.

    sharon2079 thanked toolbelt68
  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA

    I love birds in the rose garden. I have birdhouses, birdbaths and feeders. I love the Pileated Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers. Lots of little Black Capped Chickadees and Barn Finches and the little Dark Eyed Juncos who feed on the ground are so friendly. There's always a Robin's nest in John Cabot. The Blue Bird houses are always occupied. Carol, at Northland, rescued an abandoned robin one year just before they left on vacation, so she gave it to my grandson who was living with us to take care of. Robbie was always on his shoulder or head while he studied. My grandson went home for summer and left Robbie in my care. When I set him free, he hung around and followed me in the garden and sat on the hose while I watered. I put a small basket under a big rugosa for protection and he stayed there until he was ready to fly. One day, he just took off and called to me from the tall pines around the yard. He came back throughout the summer with a flock, but would break away from his companions to visit with me in the garden. I miss that crazy bird.

    The Robin's nest in John Cabot

    A tiny, 2" Junco nest I found under a lavender plant. The eggs were not much bigger than Tic Tac mints.

    Robbie on my grandson's head.....

    ... and on one of his visits home after he'd flown away. I always knew it was him because of the white mark on his beak.

    Sharon, this was way more than you asked for in your question. Forgive me for getting carried away.

    sharon2079 thanked flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
  • sharon2079

    flowersaremusic NOT at all more than I asked for... I love the stories and pictures.... I think it is WONDERFUL that Robbie comes back for a visit.... I would love to have this happen in my garden... You are so blessed to have had the chance to rescue little Robbie.

  • toolbelt68

    Oh no, not another robin nesting in the roses….. Yep-per, in fact she is using her old nest that was in the trellis. I almost removed that nest, sure glad I didn’t.

    Sharon, just keep feeding the birds and providing them with water…. a heated birdbath in the winter will also keep them coming back. Just make sure it’s plugged into a GFI outlet. The type I use has it own thermostat so all I have to do is plug it in come Fall and unplug when Spring arrives. Plan on cleaning it out each day come rain, shine, or snow….. sometimes twice a day.

    sharon2079 thanked toolbelt68
  • sharon2079

    toolbelt I live in Florida I don't think I will need a heated birdbath.... but maybe I can add an ice cube in the summer..... :)

    by the way I can't create any new threads on the forum.... I am not getting errors... the post seems to go through.... I get to the page after I choose which forums to add my title.... and I hit continue.... it ask me if I want to be notified or not notified and it STAYS on that page... at the bottom of that page it says it has been posted, but there are no other buttons .... you can't leave the page unless you reload the page... or hit the back button or hit the link to go to the forum.... the question I post is NOT there... been trying for a couple of days now.... no errors... or messages to me.... I have rebooted my computer NADA.... something is wrong or has changed and won't work... I am using Firefox browser.

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