It’s for the Birds: Favorite Native Plants for Sun and Shade

A bird-friendly landscape should fulfill all of a bird’s basic needs, including food, shelter, water and nesting. Native plants are favored because birds recognize them for insect and seed food sources, and rely on them for protection and cover that matches their nesting habits.

It’s not necessary to have a huge dedicated area — even a few of the right plants can be beneficial and will attract visitors. And remember, in order to support fall migrants and winter birds, leave the seedheads intact and let your natives stand through the winter.

While one could argue that any native plant could be listed as bird-attracting, here are some of our favorite bird-friendly plants and a few of their uses in attracting birds to your yard. Prairie Nursery also offers pre-designed songbird and hummingbird gardens.

Jacob’s Ladder Insect source Stiff Goldenrod Insect source
Sweet Joe Pye Weed Insect source Cupplant Water, nectar, insects, seeds
Zigzag Goldenrod Insect source Pale Purple Coneflower Seed, insect source
Wild Blue Phlox Nectar source Downy Sunflower Seed, insect source
Anise Scented Goldenrod Insect source Showy Goldenrod Seed, insect source
Solomon’s Seal Berry, nectar source Little Bluestem Nest site and material, seeds
Wild Geranium Nectar, insect source Ironweed Insect, seed source
Woodland Sunflower Seed, insect source Fireweed Nectar source
Heart Leaved Aster Seed, nesting, cover, insects Butterflyweed Insect source
Wild Columbine Nectar source Meadow Blazingstar Nectar, insects, seed source