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Landscaping For Birds

Landscaping For Birds

Many want to birds to come to their yards and gardens and wonder what they can plant to encourage these winged creatures. I took a walk though our nursery this week and saw an abundance of plants that will attract songbirds. Here are just a few ideas for your landscape.

First of all, although we tend to think first of plants that offer food for birds, shelter is also important. Providing a variety of larger growing evergreens and deciduous plants in groups offers birds places to hide from predators and build nests. Junipers, especially our native eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) are great for shelter and food because many birds eat the berries. Other native plants such as bayberry, chokeberry and highbush blueberries are also fantastic food sources. The bayberry has the added advantage of being able to grow in very poor soils.

All types of holly are good for birds. Be sure to plant mostly females for the fruit.
Aronia, aka red chokeberry, has berries for birds. The variety ‘Brilliantissima’ also has brilliant fall foliage color.
Shad bush, aka service berry or Amelanchier canadensis, is in flower in our woodlands right now. It is a native plant frequently planted as part of mixed-shrub borders.
All blueberries are good landscape plants while offering food for birds. We are well stocked with both low-bush and high-bush varieties.
Don’t forget perennials when planting for birds. Many birds eat the seeds from black eyed Susans, purple coneflower, and Coreopsis.
Our native switch grass, Panicum virgatum, is beautiful in landscapes, less overwhelming than the more commonly planted Miscanthus, and birds appreciate both the cover and the seeds. This variety is called Heavy Metal, because it has blue-gray leaves.

The bottom line when planting for birds is to include many different plants, with emphasis on natives. Given a wide variety, they’ll flock to your yard!

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