But some native plants are simply bird magnets. This article sings the praises of some of these bird heroes. Plant some of these new favorites and be sure to have binoculars and a zoom lens ready.
Who else wants to have a yard filled with iconic songbirds and small birds, like cardinals, Baltimore orioles, wrens, and finches? These tiny marvels make having your morning coffee or sitting in your backyard just a little more magical.
Attracting birds to your yard means more than just installing a bird feeder. To truly invite birds, you’ve got to invite bird families and bird-friendly plants. And nothing beats a native plant when it comes to both things. In this article, we’ll cover some native plants that are bird favorites.
Native plants made for birds
These native flowers, shrubs, and trees are known for their skill at attracting and supporting bird populations:
- American Beautyberry
- Coral Honeysuckle
- Hackberry Tree
- Highbush Blueberry
Best native plants for birds
Listed in alphabetical order (follow links for more plant information.)
Pinky promise: this is a real, native plant. American Beautyberries used to be one of the most common shrubs in the South! Let’s bring them back again. Beautyberries drop their leaves in the fall/winter but their electric purple berries stay in place. While they are not edible for humans, they are bird faves.
This native vine attracts hummingbirds to its flowers and songbirds to its red berries in the fall. It’s a lovely, easy-to-grow native vine that can quickly cover a fence, trellis, or wall in a few years.
Planting coneflowers and keeping their stalks through fall and winter almost guarantees a visit from bright yellow finches. Plant these flowers once and watch them come back year after year (they are perennials.) They are a gardening no-brainer. Explore the native varieties to find your fave.
Many native dogwoods produce berries in the summer and fall and fill their branches with birds. Don’t forget their gorgeous springtime flowers, too! No matter your space or landscape, there is a native dogwood worth planting.
It’s not a very inviting name, but WOW, is this tree a bird magnet! Tiny fruit cover Hackberry trees in the summer and stay through the fall (unless the birds eat it all.) It’s also a host plant for lots of butterflies. The fall foilage is a spectacular bright highlighter yellow, too.
No need for introduction here: the very same fruit we love is loved by birds, too. Plant a few Highbush Blueberries to enjoy wildlife and a beautiful, fiery foliage show in the fall.
Many different native species of serviceberry trees are gorgeous for landscaping and wildlife viewing. Also—serviceberry fruit is edible to humans, too! That is, if you can get to the berries before the birds do! This is a gorgeous four-season small tree that’s perfect for front yards or other high-profile places.
48 different species of birds chow down on Winterberry fruit in the winter months. Because this native shrub loses its leaves in the winter, its berry-laden limbs put on a show. A must for landscaping. (Sadly, not edible for humans.)
And that’s not all! Here are a few other bird-favorites to consider as you fill your landscape with native plants:
We hope you are inspired to plant a few of these native plants and welcome birds to your landscape. Planting native is important for so many reasons: it saves time and money, it makes gardening easier, and it helps iconic wildlife thrive. Whether you’re looking to help butterflies, hummingbirds, or songbirds, planting native is always the best choice. Happy planting!
- Nelson, Gil. Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens: A Handbook for Gardeners, Homeowners, and Professionals, (2010).
- Harstad, Carolyn. Go Native! Gardening with Native Plants and Wildflowers in the Lower Midwest. (1999), 209-210.