Attracting North American Birds to Your Yard: A Plant Guide

Have you ever wondered how to attract more birds to your yard? The most rewarding way to go about it is to plant flowers, trees and shrubs they love.

Cardinal on branch with berries

This post will give you a quick chart of which plants attract which birds in North America. If explores some popular bird species found in North America and the plants that can help attract them to your garden.

By growing these bird-friendly plants, you can create an inviting habitat that will not only beautify your yard but also provide food and shelter for a variety of stunning bird species.

Quick Table: North American Birds and Bird-Friendly Plants

American Robins (Turdus migratorius) are known to be attracted by a variety of bird-friendly plants including Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis).

Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), find Sunflower (Helianthus spp.), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and Holly Bush (Ilex) to be particularly inviting.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris), are drawn to the nectar of Bee Balm (Monarda spp.), Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans), and Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis).

Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula), favor the fruits of Red Mulberry (Morus rubra), Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), and Eastern Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) trees.

The recognizable Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), prefers Oak trees (Quercus spp.), Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), and Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) for their acorns and berries.

American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis), are partial to Sunflower (Helianthus spp.), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) for their seeds and blooms.

Lastly, Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) enjoy Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), and Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) as sources of food and nesting sites.

Plant Descriptions and Benefits

Here is a closer look at some of the bird-friendly plants mentioned in the table:

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.): Serviceberries produce small, sweet fruits that are favored by many bird species, including American Robins. These deciduous trees or shrubs also provide nesting sites and shelter.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana): Eastern Red Cedars are evergreen trees that offer year-round shelter and protection for birds like American Robins and Blue Jays. The blue, berry-like cones provide a food source too.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis): Eastern Redbuds produce beautiful pink flowers in early spring, attracting birds like American Robins and Baltimore Orioles. The seeds and young pods are also consumed by various bird species.

Sunflower (Helianthus spp.): Sunflowers are known for their large, vibrant blooms that attract birds like Northern Cardinals and American Goldfinches. The seeds are a valuable source of food during the colder months.

Holly Bushes (Ilex): Holly bushes attract cardinals because they provide both food and shelter for the birds. The bright red berries of the holly bush are a food source for cardinals, especially during the winter when other food may be scarce. The dense foliage of holly bushes provides a safe place for cardinals to nest and seek protection from predators.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum): Red Maples provide a valuable food source for birds, including Northern Cardinals. The seeds, buds, and flowers of these trees are all consumed by various bird species.

Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): Eastern Purple Coneflowers are a favorite among pollinators and birds. The vibrant purple flowers produce seeds that are relished by birds like Northern Cardinals and American Goldfinches.

Bee Balm (Monarda spp.): Bee Balm, also known as Bergamot, attracts hummingbirds, including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The tubular flowers are rich in nectar and provide a vital food source for these tiny birds.

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans): Trumpet Vines produce showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that are loved by hummingbirds. These vigorous climbers provide a natural perch and nectar for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): The vibrant red flowers of the Cardinal Flower are irresistible to hummingbirds like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Planting this perennial will surely attract these beautiful birds.

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra): Red Mulberries produce delicious fruits that are enjoyed by many bird species, including Baltimore Orioles. These trees also provide nesting sites and shelter.

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina): Black Cherry trees produce small, dark cherries that attract birds like Baltimore Orioles and Blue Jays. The trees also offer cover and nesting opportunities.

Oak (Quercus spp.): Oaks are host plants for a variety of caterpillars, making them a valuable food source for birds. Blue Jays, in particular, are known to enjoy acorns from oak trees.

Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis): This delicate red and yellow flower is a favorite of hummingbirds, including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): Black-eyed Susans are a common sight in North American gardens. These cheery yellow flowers attract a variety of birds, including American Goldfinches and Sparrows, who feed on the seeds.

Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium superbum): Turk’s Cap Lilies feature vibrant orange flowers with recurved petals. These showy blooms are visited by hummingbirds, including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Tiger Lily (Lilium lancifolium): Tiger Lilies are known for their distinct orange color and dark spots. They attract hummingbirds and can also provide a perch for larger birds like Orioles.

Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea): Scarlet Sage produces vibrant red flowers that are highly attractive to hummingbirds, including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii): Autumn Sage is a compact perennial that blooms in various shades of red, pink, and purple. It is a favorite of hummingbirds and provides a long-lasting source of nectar.

Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia guaranitica): This striking Salvia variety features deep blue flowers that are irresistible to hummingbirds. The tubular shape of the flowers is perfectly suited for their long beaks.

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Last Updated:

February 8, 2024