Goldfinches, Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Cardinals, and Hummingbirds are a few of the birds that will visit as well as reside in a garden that has native plants.
Almost all native plants feed all kinds of birds during their nesting and breeding season simply because they support insects, particularly caterpillars, which are the preferred food for baby birds. Hummingbirds will appreciate Wild Columbine and LOVE Cardinal Flower for nectar. The plants listed below will provide food in the spring and summer through caterpillars but also seeds in the fall and winter. Some start producing seeds late in summer. Goldfinches nest later so that they can avail themselves of seeds. We've listed a couple of plants that also produce berries that birds will appreciate.
- Spikenard (berries)
- Blue Cohosh
- Virginia Bluebells (Hummingbirds)
- Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
- Michigan Lily (Hummingbirds)
- Purple Prairie Clover (may need protection from rabbits)
- Royal Catchfly (Hummingbirds)
- Wild Bergamot (Hummingbirds)
- Asters (Aromatic Aster and Shorts's Aster)
- Grasses (e.g. Little Bluestem and Prairie Dropseed) and birds will use the leaves for nests
- Milkweeds (they use parts of the plant for nest construction if you leave some stems standing through spring, and hummingbirds have been seen on Common Milkweed)
Get your garden ready now for fall and winter birds. Then enjoy your visitors who will appreciate some good nutrition when it really counts.
Photo of Hummingbird and Cardinal Flower: USFWS
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