Plants for Birds

cardinal flower, Joe-Pye weed Courtesy Douglas Tallamy

Cardinal flower, Joe-Pye weed
Courtesy Douglas Tallamy

Gardens are outdoor sanctuaries for birds, insects and other wildlife. Every spring, migrating birds visit our yards looking for nourishment from our gardens and places to raise their chicks. By adding native plants to one’s yard, balcony, container garden, rooftop or public space, anyone, anywhere can not only attract more birds but give them the best chance of survival in the face of climate change and urban development.

Most landscaping plants available in nurseries are exotic species from other countries. Many are prized for qualities that make them poor food sources for wildlife. They generally also require more chemicals and water to thrive, increasing maintenance time, costs and environmental hazards. Some can even become invasive.

“Birds and native plants are made for each other thanks to millions of years of evolution,” says Dr. John Rowden, Audubon’s director of community conservation. “As plants grow and bloom earlier because of warming temperatures, there is a growing mismatch between bloom times and the arrival of birds that depend on them. Habitat provided by native plants can help climate threatened birds adapt and survive.”

By growing native plants, you can help protect birds while turning your home into a private wildlife paradise.

Explore Audubon’s Native Plant Database to find the best plants for your yard.


Menunkatuck’s Plant Sale for the Birds is offering bird-friendly shrubs and perennials for sale.