Native Plants for Birds

Jan 11, 2021

Native plants are plants that originally occur within a region as the result of natural processes rather than human introduction. Usually, native species are considered to have existed before the time of wide-spread European settlement a little more than 200 years ago. The United States has lost over 150 million acres of native land over the past 100 years due to urban sprawl. Just think about how this has affected our wildlife. Shocking fact, but there are things you can do to help!

How Natives Affect Us

  • Reducing air pollution
  • Controlling erosion
  • Managing storm water
  • Combating climate change by storing carbon dioxide
  • Creating a healthier place for yourself, your family, and your community
  • Native plants also play an important role in preserving our natural diversity and providing habitats for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife by furnishing them with food and cover. This presents endless opportunities for viewing and learning about wildlife, plant characteristics, and life cycles.

Creating Suitable Native Habitats

Creating a native habitat for wildlife in your yard will replenish resources that birds, and butterflies need to survive and sustain their migration. By dedicating parts of your yard to a native habitat, you will make a lasting difference in our world and the birds and butterflies will reward the effort.

Butterflies will pollinate the flowers in your garden while birds will eat insects and garden pests like mosquitoes, flies, and caterpillars. As they carry out these important tasks, they grace our yards with their beauty and song.

The needs of birds and butterflies are like our own basic needs. They require food, water, protection from the elements, and a place to raise their young. Birds and butterflies prefer a wide variety of food. If you provide them with a variety of plants that produce seeds, berries, and nectar you will increase the quantity and variety of species that visit your yard. Adding water to your landscape will increase the frequency that birds and butterflies visit and nest in your yard. Birds require water daily and bathing is essential to keep their feathers in good shape for flight and insulation.

Birds and butterflies need protection from the elements and from their predators. Mixing evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs provide cover throughout the year. Dense plants and plants with thorns provide a fortress against prowling animals. Stumps, brush piles, and hollow logs provide cover and attract insects for the birds to eat. Old, hollow trees are becoming increasingly scarce for cavity-nesters such as bluebirds and woodpeckers. A dead tree can also look attractive and add character to a garden. When birds and butterflies are comfortable and safe, they are more likely to nest in your yard and raise their young there

Using native plants in the landscape can be an important part of maintaining biodiversity. Each native planting becomes part of a collective effort to preserve nature, as well as providing a habitat for native animals and insects. Most native plants are versatile, easy to grow, and provide a progression of flowers, seeds, and fruits throughout the seasons. Appropriately planted native plants require minimal watering, pruning, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.

Native Plants that Benefit Wildlife

Wild Petunia
Lazy Daisy
Butterfly Weed
Indian Blanket
Golden Rod
Black-eyed Susan
Blue Star
Gay Feather
Black Gum
Bee Balm
Salvia azurea
Joe Pye Weed
Iron Weed
Indian Grass
Northern Sea Oats
Pink Muhly Grass
Little Bluestem
Button Bush
Clove Currant
Staghorn Sumac
Virginia Sweetspire
Possum Haw Holly
Black Haw Viburnum
Eastern Wahoo

Learn More About Natives

If you’re interested in learning more about natives, Botanical Brian is your guy! Our go-to horticulturists for everything native, Brian works in our nursery department and has a passion for preserving and creating native habitats for our wildlife. Read more about Brian or check out our events for classes and workshops on natives later this year!