Region-Specific Birdscaping

A few plants that will bring birds to you.

By Rachel Dickinson

Below are lists of a few plants per region to entice birds to your land. Of course, habitat and climate vary widely within regions, so check the resources listed for more specific recommendations. Also, your local extension agent may have additional information or resources.

Be aware that when introducing these plants on your land, that some can spread aggressively. Always do your research.

In addition to year-round residents and those in for the entire season, many of you also live along migration routes. So, be aware you can attract and feed birds who are just stopping over on their long journey both north and south.

Northeast U.S. and Canadian Maritime Provinces, Quebec and Ontario

  • American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana)—the bright, red fruit attracts dozens of species of birds, including cedar waxwing, gray catbird, brown thrasher and evening and pine grosbeaks.
  • American Red Cedar ( Juniperus virginiana)—over 50 species of bird eat the blue fruit of the female cedar tree, including northern mockingbird and brown thrasher. These make excellent nest sites for songbirds as well.
  • Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)—the small gray, waxy berries attract dozens of bird species including yellow-rumped warbler, red-bellied woodpecker and tree swallow. Bayberry is an important food source for migratory birds.

Southeast U.S.

  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)—the late summer fruit attracts many birds, including the eastern bluebird, northern flickers and re-eyed vireos.  Viburnum also serves as prime nesting spots and cover.
  • Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)—hummingbirds love the tube-shaped orange, yellow or scarlet flowers. If you plant this vine, though, be aware it can spread very aggressively.
  • Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia)—serves as a nest site for many birds, including hawks. The acorn attracts numerous birds including blue jays, wood duck, grackles, red-headed woodpeckers and bobwhite.

Prairies and Plains Region: Mexican border to northern Canada

  • Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)—purple fruit attracts dozens of species including northern flicker, northern mockingbird and cardinal.
  • Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)—often grown as a hedge, this evergreen produces red flowers that attract hooded orioles and numerous hummingbird species.
  • Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius)—a perennial grass of the prairies. Attracts sparrows and juncos, which eat the seedheads.

Mountains and Deserts: Mexican border to northern Canada

  • Brittlebush (Encelia farinose)—abundant seeds attract many birds, including mourning and ground doves, sparrows, towhees and quail.
  • Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)—multi-colored fruit brings in dozens of birds, including western bluebird, hermit and Swainson’s thrushes, northern flicker, American robins and quail.
  • Western Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflourus)—like most brambles, the fruit of the thimbleberry is an important source of food for many species including red-headed woodpecker, cedar waxwing, bobwhite and western kingbird.

Pacific Coast

  • Desert Olive (Forestiera neomexicana)—blue-black fruits attract many species, including pine grosbeak, ruffed grouse and the American robin.
  • California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.)—this family includes 40 kinds of shrubs and groundcovers that occur naturally in the region. The fruit attracts many birds, including song and white-crowned sparrows and western bluebirds.
  • Red Sage (Salvia greggii)—also known as autumn sage. Hummingbirds love the magenta flowers.


<< Read the full article, “Bring Back the Birds”