Attracting Wild Birds with Shrubs – Backyard Habitat Ideas
Creating a bird friendly garden can be simple as long as you consider the important elements birds need for an attractive habitat.
In this article we will look at native shrubs for a bird garden. You can supply important food source plants while also creating a beautiful ornamental landscape at the same time. Birds bring life to your yard and while a landscape design may be pretty, it isn’t complete unless it is alive with the lovely sound of birds singing.
Shrubs can offer a large supply of berry type foods for birds such as bluebirds. Our native songbirds prefer native berries, so planting native is a best choice for bird garden designs. Here are some easy to grow, bird and wildlife friendly suggestions for southern landscapes:
‘Native Shrubs for a Bird Garden’ is part of our series on Creating a Bird Garden Design. Please see the bottom of the page for more ideas.
American Beautyberry – an easy to grow native shrub for sun or part shade. Beautyberry has stunning lavender berries in fall which make an excellent bird food source. They won’t last long after the first frost! In spring tiny sprays of pink flowers will attract pollinators to a garden. Drought tolerant once established.
Chokeberry – Delicate clusters of white blooms in spring are a pollinator favorite. In fall, red or blue berries will appear. Chokeberry is best considered an end of the season bird food source. Berries may persist until the end of the winter when little else is available for fruit eating birds. It is also useful in a landscape design as a good erosion control shrub for natural areas.
Inkberry Holly – A shade tolerant holly bush with deep blue berries birds relish. Inkberry works well in a formal landscape design as it takes to shaping and pruning well. It is evergreen with a dense form. Drought tolerant once established.
Winterberry Holly – A bird garden favorite, winterberry is ideal for damp areas and steep banks where it is allowed to naturalize. This shrub may also be planted as hedges. Winterberry is deciduous and once the leaves fall, the arching branches will be covered in bright red berries in time for the holiday season.
Spicebush Lindera benzoin – Not only is spicebush valuable in a wildlife garden since it is the host plant for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly, the berries provide food for birds. Spicebush is deciduous with bright green foliage in summer which will brighten a hedgerow or natural area in a garden.
Summersweet – Clethra has very fragrant white or pink bottle brush style flowers. Bees and butteries will be all over the blooms but do not cut of the spent blossoms! Goldfinch and other small songbirds will love eating the dried seed heads. In fall the foliage on summersweet turns bright yellow. Prefers moisture and will form colonies.
Viburnum nudum – Our native viburnum has gorgeous fall color in rich maroons and reds making this native shrub worthwhile in an ornamental landscape design. Aside from being attractive, the large berry clusters will attract birds to your backyard. A low maintenance garden plant for the south, Viburnum nudum is drought tolerant once established.
Southern Wax Myrtle – Wax Myrtle has a wonderful, spicy fragrance and is a best pick for the fragrant garden. In the south it is semi evergreen and will provide coverage and nesting spots for birds. In the autumn clusters f small, blue berries grow along the stems and offer food for wild birds. Southern Wax Myrtle will tolerate dry spells but prefers regularly watering. It is ideal for damp areas.
More on Creating a Backyard Habitat
This is part of our series on Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden. For a successful bird garden you will need:
Water – A creek, water garden, pond or bird bath for a water supply.
Food – Fruit, berry and seed plants. See:
Trees for a Bird Garden
Perennials to Attract Butterflies and Pollinators
Shrubs for Butterfly, Bee and Pollinator Friendly Gardens
Georgia Butterfly Host Plants
Small Trees for Pollinator and Butterfly Gardens
Coverage and Nesting Sites – Evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs for protected nest building spots. Visit:
Hedgerows for Wildlife Gardens Backyard Habitat
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