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Attract Songbirds to your Garden

Summer is the perfect time for entertaining, especially for our feathered friends. So as you plan new landscaping this spring, keep the birds in mind and add some “songbird plants” to your yard.

The best choices are native species of trees and bushes. Native plants lure more native insects than do nonnative species, which in turn attracts more birds to feed on the insects. Birds plan their nesting at times when insect populations are most abundant, and having babies in nests ensures those colorful visitors with the melodious voices will be around longer for you to enjoy.

Birds, like humans, are attracted to bright colors, and red is one of their favorites. Many plants and trees have developed red fruits for that reason. The birds get a meal, and the plants get their seeds distributed for free. But certain color combinations are even more irresistible to avian diners, such as red and dark colors as when unripe fruit starts out red and then turns black when ripe. Examples include black cherry, poke weed, and wild raspberry. Other of nature’s color schemes also attract birds, such as the gray dogwood with its white fruit and bright red stems, irresistible to fruit loving birds such as cedar waxwings and Baltimore orioles.

The following is a partial list of shrubs and trees that can put your yard on the best-places-to-stop list for birds, both resident and migrating.

Deciduous Trees

  • American mountain ash
  • box elder
  • hackberry
  • crabapple
  • hawthorn
  • persimmon
  • shagbark hickory

Deciduous Shrubs

  • common blackberry
  • gray dogwood
  • red raspberry
  • dwarf serviceberry
  • American cranberrybush viburnum
  • spicebush
  • winterberry

For more information about attracting desirable birds to your yard see, Landscaping That’s for the Birds by Rachael Liska in the May/June Country Gentleman section of The Saturday Evening Post.

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