Landscape Design Tree Care

Planting Trees to Attract Birds

By Brianne Wolff | January 5, 2017

While birds are a joy to watch and listen to all year American-Mountainash_3-872long, it is particularly during the long winter months when their bright and cheerful presence is even more appreciated. Following an especially cold and dreary winter, the coming of spring brings thoughts of planting trees and shrubs to attract these delightful feathered friends. While they certainly enrich our lives with their presence when they grace our yards and gardens, we, too, can do much for them by providing necessary food sources and habitat.

By planting certain species of trees and shrubs, you can provide year-long natural food sources for these creatures, particularly during times of year when food is scarce. Selecting several trees or shrubs that have berries during different times of the year are great choices—and most also provide beauty in the form of spring blossoms or vibrant fall foliage. Blackhaw-Viburnum_1Great choices include Dogwood, Serviceberry, Mulberry, Viburnum, Sargent Crabapple, American Mountainash, Black Tupelo, Juniper and Winterberry Holly.

The cover trees and shrubs provide is also vital for attracting birds, as they need areas of shelter and protection for breeding, nesting, sleeping, traveling, and hiding from enemies. Many trees and shrubs can be both sources of cover and food; some good choices include Canadian Hemlock, Fir, Spruce, Eastern Redcedar, Birch, and Oak.

The Arbor Day Foundation and arborday.org are great sources of information.  White-Fir_1-839Our Tree City USA Bulletin #13: Trees for Wildlife and Conservation Trees: How to Attract Songbirds and Wildlife are excellent resources.

And please remember to provide a water source. Birds, like all wildlife, need water, and by installing a bird bath or other water feature, you will attract even more birds and provide a better habitat for them. Be sure to change the water frequently and keep it free of ice in the winter.

Ready to attract birds to your yard and garden but don’t know where to start?

Among the several free landscape designs available for download is the “Hedgerow Bird Shelter” also known as the “Bird Magnet.” Bird-MagnetBird-LayoutDesigned by registered landscape architect and president of Kersey/Wike Associates, Joel T. Parker, this landscape plan is attractive to birds by way of food and shelter as well as providing visual interest for all seasons. It includes the use of Washington Hawthorne, American Cranberrybush Viburnum, Arrowwood Viburnum and Winterberry Holly. A useful addition to any bird-lover’s property, this landscape plan is a source of beauty and enjoyment. Read more about the details of this design plan on the original arborday.org blog post.

Prairifire-Flowering-Crabapple_1-820The arborday.org tree nursery also offers a Trees for Birds Collection, a bird-friendly tree package containing one of each of the following: Purpleleaf Sand Cherry, Prairiefire Crab, American Mountainash, Canadian Hemlock and Norway Spruce.

Read Trees for Bees to add more buzz to your yard!

 

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply Mr. Hogarth March 11, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Planting trees not only attract birds but I believe that trees attract rain. A little esoteric but I feel it’s true.

  • Reply Eleanor March 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Large, mature trees with substance attract the largest variety of birds from chickadees to woodpeckers. We have a fir, maple, and holly in our yard, and the birds like all of them.

  • Reply Diannah March 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I live in SW Georgia, and have Cherry Laurel and Wild Cherry trees in abundance in my yard. The birds love the fruit, and the limbs and leaves provide nesting and protection for them year round.

  • Reply Brianne March 17, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Thanks so much for your comments, Diannah, Eleanor and Mr. Hogarth. I’m sure all those birds are a joy to see and hear throughout the year– and your feathered friends thank you for the food and shelter!

  • Reply Dan Jaffe January 6, 2017 at 7:19 am

    The berries are a great way to see the birds on your landscape but why no mention of planting native trees that attract caterpillars and other beneficial insects? Are not the protein sources the most important food for nesting birds?

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