Yard & Garden Report


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Landscaping to Attract Birds

These trees and shrubs will attract birds to your home.

Do you feed birds during winter? If not, give it a try! It’s a joy to watch their lively movements, especially in winter when our landscapes are bleak. 

Let’s talk about giving birds a home, and not just a meal. We do this through landscaping. The following are some of the best trees and shrubs for birds in North Dakota landscapes.

Bohemian waxwing on mountainash
Mountainash. Waxwings and robins can’t resist the berries in fall. Mountainash trees grow best in cool soil; spread bark mulch under the tree to help with this.
Robin in juniper
Juniper. Juniper berries are an excellent source of food in winter. Evergreens, in general, provide excellent nesting cover and winter shelter—essential in our frigid climate! Spruce, pine and fir are other useful evergreens.
American cranberrybush viburnum
American Cranberrybush Viburnum. The bright red fruits persist on this tall shrub all winter. Birds value these berries in late winter when other sources of food in nature are scarce.
Pagoda dogwood
Dogwood. Birds gobble dogwood berries in fall. The branches of redosier, pagoda, silky and gray dogwoods are attractive and provide good nesting cover.
Waxwing on hawthorn
Hawthorn. An exceptional small tree. Its colorful fruits nourish birds through late fall and winter. The thorny branches provide a cat-proof, protective site for nesting.
Serviceberry. Related to Juneberry, you will be tempted to harvest the delicious fruits before the birds find them. Other shrubs that feed birds in summer and provide good nesting sites include buffaloberry, raspberry and elderberry.
Hackberry. Bird-friendly landscapes offer multiple layers (high, medium, low) of plants for nesting. This tall tree tolerates alkaline soil. Birds eat hackberries during winter.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Keith Williams, Mary Corporan Dunn, tombarta, Cody Hough, Jim Ochterski, svklimkin and Marc Pascual from Pixabay.

Source: Craven, S.R. and R. Ellarson. 1994. Landscape plants that attract birds. Publ. G1609. University of Wisconsin.

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