Gardening Tips to Help Baby Birds & Pollinators: 7 Plants You've Gotta Grow! by 30Seconds Mom
The National Audubon Society encourages nature lovers nationwide to grow native plants that help birds, bees, butterflies and other crucial pollinators thrive this summer. Pollinators are a vital part of a healthy environment and crucial to our agricultural system. As human-dominated landscapes expand, pollinators require connections among fragmented natural landscapes to prosper. By adding native plants to your outdoor space this season, you not only aid a wider range of pollinating insects and birds, but also create a nesting and feeding haven for baby birds. The key to getting started is picking the right plants for your area. Here are eight native plants to get you going. They are a good starting point because they are found across the U.S., are easy to grow, and can be found at many native plant nurseries.
Elderberries: In early summer, the white flower clusters of this vigorous shrub attract many pollinators. In late summer its bright dark-blue fruits provide food for many birds including thrashers and vireos.
Honeysuckles: The tubular flowers of native honeysuckle vines are magnets for hummingbirds and other pollinators, while the vines’ berries provide fall and winter food for birds like finches and thrushes.
Oaks: These trees are an integral part of the food chain; planting just one tree really helps your yard’s diversity. Both migrating and breeding songbirds like warblers and tanagers are drawn to the abundance of butterfly and moth caterpillars on oaks (557 species!), while woodpeckers, jays and others feast on the ripe acorns. Birds also use the cavities of these trees for nesting.
Penstemons: Penstemons bear flowers in a variety of colors, and are attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators. The tiny seeds of these perennials are eaten by ground-feeding birds.
Pines: Pine trees host over 200 species of moth and butterfly caterpillars. During the cold winter months, pine “nuts” provide nourishing food for finches, nuthatches and many other birds – while their evergreen foliage shelters birds from predators and the elements.
Serviceberries: This flowering shrub is a host for many insect species, providing important nutrition for growing birds. Orioles, grosbeaks and many other bird species gorge themselves on the tasty fruit of the serviceberry.
Sunflowers: Sunflowers and coneflowers attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. After they go to seed, these closely related plants provide feasts for goldfinches, siskins and other birds.
The National Audubon Society's one-of-a-kind bird-friendly native plants database makes it easy to find the right plants and where to purchase them, simply by typing in your zip code.