Designing a Garden for Birds: Top 3 Plant Choices

EEdgar March 10, 2024 7:01 AM

There's nothing quite like the charm of having a variety of birds frequent your garden. Their delightful songs, vibrant colors, and intriguing behaviors bring life to any outdoor space. But how do you transform your garden into a haven for these feathered visitors? The secret lies in your plant choices. So, let's delve into the top three plants you should consider in your bird-friendly garden design.

Plant 1: Sunflowers (Helianthus)

Sunflowers are a classic choice when it comes to attracting birds. Their large, vibrant yellow blooms are not just stunning—they are also a great source of nutritious seeds that many bird species love. What's more, sunflowers are relatively easy to grow, making them an excellent option for novice gardeners.

Why Birds Love Sunflowers

  1. Seeds Galore: When the sunflower heads mature, they produce a wealth of seeds that are a favorite among many bird species, including finches, chickadees, and cardinals.

  2. High in Nutrition: Sunflower seeds are high in fats and proteins—vital nutrients that birds need for energy and growth.

  3. Shelter: The tall and sturdy stems of sunflowers provide a safe perch for birds, away from ground-dwelling predators.

Plant 2: Coneflowers (Echinacea)

Coneflowers, particularly the Echinacea purpurea variety, are another excellent choice for a bird-friendly garden. These hardy perennials bear beautiful pinkish-purple flowers that attract a variety of birds, notably goldfinches.

Why Birds Love Coneflowers

  1. Seeds in Winter: Unlike many plants, coneflowers do not drop their seeds in fall. Instead, the seeds remain in the dried flower heads throughout the winter, providing a valuable food source for birds during the colder months.

  2. Shelter and Nesting Space: Coneflowers have a bushy growth habit, providing cover for ground-nesting birds.

  3. Attracts Insects: Coneflowers are also popular with many insects, which in turn can provide a food source for insectivorous birds.

Plant 3: Berry Bushes

Choosing some berry-producing bushes for your bird garden is a no-brainer. Not only do they provide a colorful display, but their fruits are like magnets to numerous bird species. Some top choices include hawthorn (Crataegus), dogwood (Cornus), and elderberry (Sambucus).

Berry Bush Why Birds Love It
Hawthorn Hawthorn bushes produce a bounty of bright red berries that are a favorite of robins and waxwings.
Dogwood Dogwood berries not only attract birds but are also high in fat, providing essential winter calories.
Elderberry Elderberries are loved by a range of birds, including thrushes and blackbirds, for their sweet, juicy fruits.

Remember, designing a bird-friendly garden is not just about the plants. It's also about creating a safe, welcoming environment. Incorporate bird baths, feeders, and nesting boxes to further entice these charming creatures.

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