Seven Important Plant Groups
To provide habitat for the largest diversity of birds, try to include plants from as many of these plant groups as possible on your property. Choosing plants that produce at different times of year ensures that your backyard will always have something to bring in the birds.
Evergreen trees and shrubs such as pines, spruces, firs, arborvitae, and junipers. Provide excellent shelter and nest sites, as well as food (fruits and seeds).
Grasses and Legumes:
Provide cover for ground-nesting birds (if not mowed during the nesting season) and food (seeds and insects).
Attract hummingbirds (especially flowers with tubular red corollas) and orioles.
Provide food during the nesting season. Various species of cherry, chokecherry, native honeysuckle, raspberry, serviceberry, blackberry, blueberry, mulberry, and elderberry.
Important for both migratory birds building up fat reserves before migration and non-migratory birds that need to enter the winter season in good physical condition. Includes dogwoods, mountain ash, cotoneasters, and buffalo-berries.
Fruits remain attached to these plants long after they ripen in the
fall, providing a winter food source for residents, as well as for
early-returning migrants. Includes crabapple, snowberry, native
bittersweet, sumacs, viburnums, American highbush cranberry, eastern
wahoo, Virginia creeper, and winterberry (holly).
Nut and Acorn Plants:
Includes oaks, hickories, buckeyes, chestnuts, butternuts, walnuts, and hazels. Provide food and good nesting habitat.
For more detailed descriptions of specific plants, including
information about the kinds of birds they attract, see the following