The Q&A Archives: Plant List to Attract Birds

Question: How can I get a list of the plants that you grow that support birds. I know you had one about two years ago. I think that would be a valuable part of this website.


Hope this information is helpful!

Hope this information is helpful!
* Serviceberry (Amelanchier). These hardy shrubs or small trees--also called shadbush, shadblow, or saskatoon--are seen as understory in sparse woods or at woodland edges. The early show of white blooms adds to the landscape well before their dark berries benefit birds.

* Holly (Ilex). Some are evergreen, such as inkberry (I. glabra), and some are deciduous, such as winterberry (I. verticillata). Female plants produce berries that sustain birds including cedar waxwings, finches, mockingbirds, thrushes, and woodpeckers.

* Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica). This hardy native shrub is commonly found in sandy soil along coastal areas. Female plants produce an abundance of hard, waxy berries that attract bluebirds, crows, game birds, meadowlarks, myrtle warblers, tree swallows, and woodpeckers.

* Rose (Rosa). Rose hips are a winter food source for game birds and songbirds, to whom they are available when preferred foods are covered with snow.

* Yew (Taxus canadensis). This common plant is adaptable both for trimmed hedges and natural spreading. Its dense evergreen growth offers security for birds. Game birds, mockingbirds, robins, and sparrows enjoy the juicy, sticky red fruits.

* Blueberry (Vaccinium). Highbush (V. corymbosum) and lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium) are widespread native species whose berries feed game birds, jays, orioles, sparrows, tanagers, thrushes, towhees, waxwings, and woodpeckers. Mammals such as deer will eat the woody shoots in midwinter when other foods are scarce.

* Viburnum (Viburnum). Several species of these deciduous or evergreen shrubs are attractive to gardeners and birds alike. Gardeners enjoy the plants' form, foliage, and blooms, while birds enjoy their berries. The fruits are red, blue, or black and are quickly consumed in late summer and early fall by finches, game birds, mockingbirds, thrushes, waxwings, and woodpeckers. The nuts of these large and long-lived native trees are food for blackbirds, chickadees, jays, and tufted titmice.

* American holly (Ilex opaca). Holly is associated with the holiday season because of its vibrant red berries against pointed dark green leaves. The bounty of berries will sustain a variety of birds including cedar waxwings, finches, mockingbirds, thrushes, and woodpeckers. Many other species of holly grow as shrubs. Note that most holly plants are male or female, and both are required for the female to bear fruit.

* Crabapple (Malus). This tree is popular with landscapers, who favor its beautiful flowers, and birds, such as cedar waxwings, finches, and mockingbirds, which enjoy the fruits well into winter.

* Tupelo (Nyssa). These native gums love damp woods. Black and sour gum (N. sylvatica) and cotton gum (N. aquatica), found in southern regions, are magnificent large trees. Sour gum also grows in the West. The dark blue fruits are tasty to game birds, mockingbirds, thrushes, and waxwings. One of the last trees to produce foliage in spring, the tupelo is the first to turn blazing red in late summer.

* Cherry (Prunus). Pin cherry (P. pensylvanica), black cherry (P. serotina), and chokecherry (P. virginiana) are some of the best trees for attracting birds. Cedar waxwings, crows, finches, flycatchers, grosbeaks, grouse, jays, mockingbirds, pheasants, thrushes, vireos, and woodpeckers feed on their fruits.

* Oak (Quercus). Acorns are a winter staple not only for squirrels and chipmunks but also for many bird species. Crows, ducks, flickers, grouse, jays, nuthatches, pheasants, quail, titmice, towhees, turkeys, and woodpeckers enjoy feeding on acorns.

* American mountain ash (Sorbus americana). Grouse, thrushes, waxwings, and woodpeckers enjoy the clusters of scarlet fall berries, which remain on the tree all winter if not eaten.


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