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Landscaping For birds

Backyard Habitats

No matter how perfect your birdhouse may be, if the habitat is not favourable birds will not nest inside. Loud noises and heavy traffic areas can deter these birds from nesting. A heavily manicured lawn with little landscaping lacks diversity of insects for mature birds to feed their young.

Landscaping can greatly influence the birds that visit your backyard. Native birds will favour native plants to your area, so as a general rule of thumb these plants are great to add to your backyard.

There are other plants that can be added to improve bird traffic through your yard and may provide additional food or shelter. The list below summarizes some common landscape plants that will attract many different types of birds to your yard for years to come. The rating scheme is based on how effective the plant species is at attracting birds, out of ten.
Picture of a backyard landscaped for birds
Landscaping can attract birds

Deciduous Trees that Attract Birds

Scientific Name

Common Name

Can Attract

Benefit to Birds

Comments

Rating

Amelanchier spp. Serviceberry
  • cardinals
  • grosbeaks
  • robins
  • vireos
  • waxwings
    • summer to fall fruit
    • nest sites
    • great fall colour
    • can be pruned and kept small
    9
    Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood
  • bluebirds
  • cardinals
  • catbirds
  • grosbeaks
  • tanagers
  • thrushes
    • fall fruit
    • can be kept small
    9
    Crataegus spp. Hawthorns
  • blackbirds
  • finches
  • redwings
  • thrushes
    • summer to fall fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    6
    Fagus grandifolia American Beech
  • blue jays
  • ducks
  • grouse
    • nest sites
    7
    Malus spp. Crabapple
  • bluebirds
  • cardinals
  • catbirds
  • finches
  • grosbeaks
  • tanagers
  • thrushes
    • fall to winter fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    8
    Morus spp. Mulberry
  • cardinals
  • robins
  • waxwings
    • summer fruit
    • nest sites
    10
    Nyssa sylvatica Black Gum
  • kinglets
  • phoebes
  • robins
  • starlings
  • thrushes
  • warblers
  • waod ducks
  • woodpeckers
    • fall fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    8
    Quercus spp. Oak
  • blue jays
  • grosbeaks
  • wood ducks
    • nest sites
    9
    Sassafras Sassafras
  • blue jays
  • cardinals
  • doves
  • mockingbrids
    • fall fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    • lipid rich berries
    8

    Coniferous Trees that Attract Birds

    Scientific Name

    Common Name

    Can Attract

    Benefit to Birds

    Comments

    Rating

    Abies spp. Fir
  • chickadees
  • crossbills
  • grouse
    • scover
    • nest sites
    5
    Juniperus virginiana Eastern Red Cedar
  • bluebirds
  • bobwhites
  • doves
  • finches
  • flickers
  • robins
  • starlings
  • waxwings
    • fall to winter fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    4
    Picea spp. Spruce
  • crossbills
  • warblers
    • summer to fall fruit
    • nest Sites
    • cover
    • choose dwarf cultivar for urban environments
    9
    Pinus spp. Pine
  • cardinals
    • nest Sites
    9

    Shrubs Trees that Attract Birds

    Scientific Name

    Common Name

    Can Attract

    Benefit to Birds

    Comments

    Rating

    Cornus stolonifera Red-oiser dogwood
  • bluebirds
  • catbirds
  • cardinals
  • grouse
  • juncos
  • kingbirds
  • robins
  • vireos
    • summer fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    • fruit has a high lipid content
    8
    Ilex spp. Hollies
  • bluebirds
  • robins
  • waxwings
    • fall to winter fruit
    • cover
    • only female plants fruit, but males must be present for this to occur
    7
    Juniperus communis Common Juniper
  • black-capped chickadees
  • robins
  • waxwings
    • early summer to winter fruit
    • cover
    • birds enjoy berry like cones
    7
    Myrica cerifer Wax myrtle / Bayberry
  • bluebirds
  • catbirds
  • tree sparrows
  • tree swallows
  • quail
    • fall to winter fruit
    • unrestricted growth produces unusable habitat
    6
    Lindera benzoin Spicebush
  • bobwhites
  • catbirds
  • flycatchers
  • kingbirds
  • robins
    • fall fruit
    • leaves turn yellow in fall
    9
    Rhus typhina Staghorn Sumac
  • bluebirds
  • cardinals
  • catbirds
  • chickadees
  • starlings
  • pileated woodpecker
    • fall to winter fruit
    9
    Vaccinium spp. Blueberries
  • bluebirds
  • blue jays
  • catbirds
  • robins
  • tanagers
  • thrushes
  • towhees
    • summer to fall fruit
    • acidic soils necessary for adequate growth
    9
    Viburnum spp. Viburnums
  • bluebirds
  • cardinals
  • catbirds
  • finches
  • robins
  • thrushes
  • waxwings
    • fall to winter fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    9

    Perennials that Attract Birds

    Scientific Name

    Common Name

    Can Attract

    Benefit to Birds

    Comments

    Rating

    Campis radicans Trumpet vine
  • oriels
    • summer nectar
    • nest sites
    • fast-growing vine producing trumpet-like flowers
    5
    Celastrus scandens American bittersweet
  • catbirds
  • flickers
  • mockingbirds
  • robins
  • starlings
  • warblers
    • fall fruit
    • fast growing and invasive vine
    5
    Fragaria spp. Strawberry
  • blackbirds
  • finches
  • gold finches
  • hummingbirds
  • quail
  • thrushes
  • waxwings
    • early summer fruit
    • small plants
    9
    Lonicera sempervirens Trumpet honeysuckle
  • bluebirds
  • finches
  • goldfinches
  • hummingbirds
  • quail
  • thrushes
  • waxwings
    • fall fruit
    • attractive flowers
    9
    Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia creeper
  • bluebirds
  • cardinals
  • chickadees
  • robins
  • thrashers
  • turkeys
    • fall to winter fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    • fast growing vine which can be difficult to control once established
    5
    Vitis spp. Wild grape
  • cardinals
  • robins
  • waxwings
    • late summer to winter fruit
    • nest sites
    • cover
    • excellent cover for nesting songbirds
    10


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