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Planting for Birds and Wildlife

Updated on February 16, 2015
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Since the mid-1980s Yvonne has maintained a registered NWF backyard wildlife habitat where a variety of birds, insects and frogs abound.

Downy Woodpecker in American Holly

Creating a Bird and Wildlife Garden

Welcoming birds and animals into our yard has been a most enjoyable experience. The beauty and motion that they add to the landscape makes the garden that we have created seem all the more beautiful. We have provided a planting list with photographs and descriptions in this lens, so that you can create your own garden for wildlife or add new plants to an established habitat. For more detailed instructions visit our other habitat construction and gardening for hummingbirds, butterflies and moths lenses. We hope you'll start your garden in the fall, when it's the best time to plant.

Cedar Waxwings eating cherries and all other photos on this page are the property of Y.L. Bordelon (All Rights Reserved) unless otherwise noted. Many of the photos on this page can be purchased online at Naturegirl7 Zazzle Shop. There you will find many print on demand products featuring my photographs and designs.


add color, movement and song to any garden. They make it come alive and bring joy to the watcher.

Carolina Chickadee Poster


Be Like a Bird - Victor Hugo

Be like the bird, who

Halting in his flight

On limb too slight

Feels it give way beneath him,

Yet sings

Knowing that he hath wings.

Planting for Animals Poll

Do you garden with wildlife in mind?

See results

Taiwan Cherry

Cedar Waxwings Eating Taiwan Cherries

Food Plants for the Birds and Other Wildlife

Landscaping your yard or garden with plants that provide food, shelter and/or nesting sites for birds and other animals will provide 3 of the 4 requirements for a successful wildlife habitat. All you need to add is a bird bath or a pond of any size and you'll have a sanctuary for displaced wildlife and a beautiful retreat for you and your family.


Trees, shrubs and vines can add beauty and form to the landscape, but with a little planning they can also provide a year round food supply for wildlife, too. Try some of these natives and old favorites for a low maintenance, pesticide free addition to your yard. To help you get started I've included a list (with photographs and descriptions)of our favorite, easy to grow wildlife plants. I'll be adding more as time goes on.

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)- Large deciduous native, early summer fruit, full sun/partial shade. Larval food of the tiger swallowtail butterfly. Attracts 30 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Taiwan Cherry (Prunus campanulata) Small imported, deciduous tree, very early spring flowers, late spring fruit, full sun to part shade, Hummingbirds use the flowers, fruit eating birds devour the cherries.

Red Mulberry

Southern Crabapple

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) - Large deciduous introduced species, spring fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 29 bird species (bluebird favorite)

Black Gum (Nyssa Sylvatica) - Medium/large deciduous native, fall fruit, full sun/light shade. Attracts 16 bird species.

Southern Crab Apple (Malus angustifolia) - Small deciduous native, fall fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 15 bird species.

Southern Crabapple Fruit

Flowering Dogwood

Dogwood - Flowering (Cornus florida) Medium deciduous native, fall fruit, sun/shade.

Rough-leaf (Cornus Drummondii) Small deciduous native, early summer fruit, sun/partial shade. Larval food of spring azure butterfly. Attracts 15 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Flowering Dogwood Fruit

Mexican Plum Flowers

Wild Plum Fruit

Wild or Domesticated Plum (Prunus spp.) Small deciduous native (or imported), spring bloom, summer fruit, full sun/part shade. Attracts birds and other wildlife.


Sassafras Flowers

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) - Small deciduous native, late spring fruit, full sun/light shade. Larval food of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. Attracts 14 bird species.

Service Berry Flowers

Service Berry Fruit

Service Berry (Amelanchier arborea) - Small deciduous native, spring fruit, sun/partial shade. Attracts 14 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Southern Magnolia Flower

Magnolia - Southern (Magnolia grandiflora) - Large evergreen native, late summer-fall fruit, full sun/partial shade. Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) - Medium/large evergreen native, July-October fruit, full sun/partial shade. Larval food of the tiger swallowtail butterfly. Attracts 13 bird species.

Southern Magnolia Seed Cone

Common Fig

Common Fig (Ficus carica) - Small deciduous introduced species, midsummer fruit, full sun. Attracts 10 bird species.

Fig Tree

American Beech

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) - Large deciduous native, fall nut-like fruit, medium sun to shade. Attracts 10 bird species.

American Beech Flowers

Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens

Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens
Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens

One of the best gardening for bird books around. Most of the plants listed will also grow well in northern gardens.


Devil's Walking Stick Flowers

Devil's Walking Stick (Aralia spinosa) - Small deciduous native, summer-fall fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 9 bird species.

Devil's Walking Stick Berries

Hackberry (Celtis laevigata) - Medium to large deciduous native, early fall fruit, sun/shade. Larval food of the hackberry, eastern snout, & question mark butterflies. Attracts 8 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Oak (Quercus spp.) - The acorns feed many wildlife species.

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) - Many mammals and birds use the nuts.

Hickory (Carya spp.) - Many mammals and birds use the nuts.

Pine (Pinus spp.) - Birds like the Pine Warbler and Brown-headed Nuthatch need Pine trees to survive. The Pine nuts are eaten by many species of birds and mammals.


Lorraine Ellis Harr

First day of spring;

On the ancient plum tree

three open blossoms.

American Beauty Berry


American Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americana) - Large native deciduous Shrub with beautiful red-purple colored berries in fall. Attracts 10 species of birds.

Elderberry Flowers

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) - Large, semi-evergreen shrub, summer- fall fruit, full sun/light shade. Attracts 31 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Elderberry Fruit

Ham & Eggs Lantana (Lantana spp.) Tropical shrub, winter die back, late spring flowers, summer fruit, full sun. Hummingbirds and butterflies use flowers, fruit eating birds love the berries.

Lantana Flowers

Pyracantha Fruit

Pyracantha (Pyracantha coccinea) - Evergreen introduced shrub, fall/winter fruit, full sun. Attracts 12 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Pokeweed Flowers

Southern Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera) - Small evergreen native, early fall fruit, full sun/partial shade. Larval food of the red-banded hair-streak butterfly. Attracts 22 bird species.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca Americana) - Large perennial herb, summer-fall fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 20 bird species (bluebird favorite)

Pokeweed Fruit

Huckleberry Flowers

Huckleberry (gaylussacia spp.) / Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) - Most are large semi- evergreen native shrubs, spring fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 21 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Huckleberry Fruit - Wild Blueberries

Arrow Wood Flowers

Arrow-wood (Virburnum dentatum) - Large deciduous native shrub, late summer fruit, full sun/partial shade. Larval food of the spring azure butterfly. Attracts 12 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Arrow Wood Fruit

Cardinal in American Holly


Hollies - American (Ilex opaca) - Medium evergreen native tree, fall fruit, full sun/partial shade.

Deciduous Holly

Deciduous Holly (Ilex longipes) - One of the deciduous Hollies, small tree, large shrub, berries in winter, sun to part sun.

Yaupon Holly Berries

Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) Large evergreen native shrub, fall fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 18 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Winter Robin in American Holly Poster on Zazzle


Parsley Hawthorn Flowers

Parsley Hawthorne Fruit

Hawthorne - Parsley (Crataegus Marshallii) Large deciduous native shrub, fall fruit, full sun/partial shade.

Mayhaw Flowers

Mayhaw (C. opaca) Small deciduous native tree, spring Fruit, full sun/partial shade. Great for jelly. Attracts 12 bird species (thrush favorite).

Mayhaw Fruit

Bringing Nature Home - Updated and Expanded

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded

Everyone who wants to help keep Mother Earth healthy should read this book. Tallamy explains the importance of insects to the survival of the planet. Plant lists and insect photos and descriptions are given.


Blackberry Flowers


Blackberry and Dewberry (Rubus spp.) - Deciduous thorny brambles, late spring fruit, full sun/partial shade. Attracts 31 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Blackberry Fruit

Muscadine Grapes

Grapes, Muscadines (Vitis spp.) - Large deciduous native vines, late summer-fall fruit, full sun/shade. Attracts 28 Bird species.

Summer Grapes

Summer Grape (Vitis )

Virginia Creeper Vine

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) - Deciduous vine, summer fruit, full sun/shade. Attracts 24 bird species (bluebird favorite).

Bird-by-Bird Gardening

Bird-by-Bird Gardening: The Ultimate Guide to Bringing in Your Favorite Birds-Year after Year
Bird-by-Bird Gardening: The Ultimate Guide to Bringing in Your Favorite Birds-Year after Year

Great book that gives step by step instructions about how to plant for birds. Also has beautiful photos of many garden visitors with information about their family life, diet, etc.


Dwarf Smilax Vine

Greenbriars, Sawbriars (Smilax spp.) - Evergreen or deciduous native vine, late summer-fall fruit, sun/shade. Attracts 13 bird species.

Coral Bean Mamou Flowers

Perennials and Annuals


Coral Bean, Mamou (E ) Herbaceous perennial with a large root, spring flowers, fall bean-like seeds, full sun to part shade. Hummingbirds use the flowers and many animals use the seeds.

Coral Beans

Swamp Sunflowers and Mushrooms

Native Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) Herbaceous perennials, full sun to part shade, most bloom in late summer and fall, seed in late fall / winter. Seeds are eaten by goldfinches and other small seed eating birds.

Louisiana Iris (Iris spp.) Evergreen leaves from rhisomes, full sun, moist soil, blooms in spring, seeds in fall. Hummingbirds and other nectar eating birds use flowers, wood ducks will eat the seeds.

Louisiana Iris


Zinnas and Sunflowers


Zinna and Sunflower seeds are eaten by a large number of birds.


Chickweed (Stellaria media) Annual cool weather ground cover, grows anywhere, seeds are eaten by many birds, whole plant can be eaten.

Bird Songs - Anonymous

Oh, there's music

In the forests

And there's music

In the glen

As the birds

Are warbling greetings

To the spring

That's come again.

Louisiana Iris Sticker on Zazzle


Bird Friendly Plants on Zazzle

See our other designs at Naturally Native on

Bee and Taiwan Cherry


Red-bellied Woodpecker Postcard on Zazzle


Woodpecker - Meish Goldish

Woodpecker, woodpecker,

Peck! Peck! Peck!

Drill with your bill

And bob your neck!

Peck out a hole

In the trunk of a tree.

Peck out a nest

For all to see.

Cling to the wood

With your sharp clawed feet.

Peck through the bark

And find bugs to eat!

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker Poster on Zazzle


Woodpecker, woodpecker,

Peck! Peck! Peck!

Drill with your bill

And bob your neck!

Bird Garden Video

Bird Songs, music, photos of Eagles and other birds.

© 2008 Yvonne L B

Hope we planted a seed. Leave us a note.

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi naturegirl7,

      I really liked your lense. I believe that some things grown in the garden can be for the benefit of the little ones! Shelter, food and drinks are important elements to include for them.

      N T T

    • BlueStarling profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list of plants that provide food for birds and wonderful photos for identifying plants. You've made me feel guilty for pulling out such plants as Pokeberry, but I do try to keep in mind what trees, shrubs, etc. will benefit birds when I'm adding plants.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I adore your bird lenses and your information on wildlife - especially the advice on planting to attract wild creatures. Blessed by an angel today ( /one-hundred-lens-blessings)

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      8 years ago


      Lensrolled to Plant a Hummingbird Garden

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Beautiful photos and wonderful lens!

    • AnimalGuy profile image


      9 years ago

      I love birds. We live in the country so we are blessed with a lot of them. It really does help to plant things that birds like.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      Christmas is over and my Burpee's catalog has arrived. My thoughts are turning back to the birds and gardening.

      Spring is coming


    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      Welcome to The Totally Awesome Lenses Group.


    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      10 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I have studied more titles from your lensgraphy than anyone on Squidoo. I am a big fan of yours.

      Thanks again for a beautiful lens.

    • James20 profile image


      10 years ago

      A great lens, 5*****

      I like the pictures.


    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 

      10 years ago

      Incredible lens and photos. I really enjoyed reading this.


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