Besides great birdseed, attracting birds to your garden is as easy as adding bird friendly plants to your backyard sanctuary!

No matter if you have a small balcony or a 100 acre farm, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful birds with the bonus of helping to restore habitats in all areas.

This BIG question… What do I plant?

Southern / Southeastern States

If you live in the southern and southeastern states, be sure that you choose plants that can withstand the blazing temperatures of the summer and the frosty winters. Be sure to pick plants in zones 6 through 10. Below are some of my favorite plants and shrubs.


The following shrubs are great additions if you have a large backyard sanctuary. These shrubs provide not only great cover and nesting sites, but also offer a variety of berries for birds to eat.

yaupon hollyBeautyberry (Callicarpa americana):  beautiful purple berries for food

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria): great nesting sites for babies and winter protection
Excellent hedgerow planting that offers food and nest sites.

Arrowood Virbunum (Virbunum dentatum): Bountiful blue berries and excellent nesting sites for the babies!


Sunflowers (Helanthius species): Sunflowers are great for larger backyard sanctuaries but provide a brilliant splash of color and are a great source of seed for the birds!

Coneflowers (Rudbeckia species): This beauty provides seeds for your feathered friends and nectar for butterflies.

Sunspot Dwarf (H. annuus): Only 2′ which makes it great for small spaces!


Northern / Northeastern States

The northern/northeastern states have a great diversity, therefore many different choices of native species that attract our feathered friends. Be sure to choose flowers that are suitable to grow in zones 2-7. Below are some of my favorites:


American Highbush Cranberry (Virbunum tribolium): These have beautiful flowers in the spring and blazing red foilage in the fall. Red berries in the late summer throughout winter feed our feathered friends! (Beware, this plant does multiply)

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata): These beauties have fat, red berries that last into the winter. The soil needs to be very moist and you have to have more than one for the plants to bloom (but well worth it… the birds love them!)

Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica): These shrubs have fragrant fruit clusters that appear in the late summer. They are a great source of food for your spring migrant birds.


Salvia (Salvia maynight): These deep blue beauties require full sun in the summertime but are great attractors for hummingbirds and other song birds.

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uvaursi): These grow to 12” and provide excellent shelter from strong winds. Pinkish-white flowers appear in the summer followed by red berries into the winter.

 Pacific Coast

The Pacific Coast has a wide range of climates… cool and wet to dry hot climbs. Much of this region falls between zones 7,8, and 9. A variety of plants and shrubs are listed below which have become some of my favorites!


Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquilifolium): These have beautiful white flowers in the springs but black fruits in the fall that attract many species of birds. These shrubs like fertile and moist soil.

Manzanita (Arctasphylos species): There are almost 50 varieties of this shrub so choose your honeysucklefavorite color! Red berries are common while being drought resistant and very adaptable!

Twinberry, Twinline Honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata): These grow 2′ – 3′ and are great hummingbird attractors due to the brilliant yellow, funnel shaped flowers. Berries also grow that make great food for many types of birds.

Desert Honeysuckle, Flame Flower (Aniscanthus thurberi) Zones 8 – 10
A favorite of western hummingbirds. Upright 2′ to 6′. Drought-tolerant and adaptable to many soils.

Annuals/Perennialscardinal flower

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): These 2′ to 3′ wildflowers have beautiful tubular flowers from July to October – a Hummingbird favorite!

Beardstongue (Penstemon barbatus): These are 1′ to 3′ and come in a variety of colors. They are sun lovers and prefer soil that is drained well!


Hot, dry deserts can be a haven for several types of birds – especially during migration season! If you live in the desert/southwest, you may see doves, quail, finches, sparrows, and cardinals visiting your backyard bird sanctuary.


Calliandra californica (Baja Fairy Duster): 4 foot beauty has red-tufted flowers that mature into little seedpods – enjoyed by several types of birds, especially the quail.

Gaillardia pulchella(Firewheel): This red and yellow perennial beauty blooms for 10 months and provides seeds for our birds during the entire time!

Penstemon parryi (Parry’s Penstemon): These tall, flower stalks are favorites of finches!


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