Berries for Birds


 Native plants listed here were specifically chosen for their ability to attract and nourish local bird populations. Species were selected based on timing of flowering and fruiting, and nutrient content of fruit, as well as suitability for providing cover. In addition, all of the plants used are host plants for caterpillars, making nutrition for growing baby birds readily available. Site considerations (moist field in open sun) precluded the use of other good and useful plants. This list may serve as a valuable resource for those interested in creating a bird-friendly environment, offering a variety of options that ensure a year-round food supply and habitat for diverse avian species, including those facing population decline.

year-Round Avian Sustenance and Habitats

The hedgerow pictured above was planted in 1999 over the area disturbed for the underground power line to our cabin and bisects a hay field.  In addition to marking the line, it presented an opportunity for a wide variety of food and cover for birds. 

The plants used are listed below.  They flower and set fruit at varying times of the growing season, and some hold fruit, including nuts and other seeds, right through winter. 

The hedgerow is fenced to protect the plants from deer browse.  Visually, the hedge is an undulating form with lower masses interrupted by trees for perching and cover, quite unlike a typical hedge made up of one single species. 

The hedgerow has been successful in attracting a wide variety of birds, including some of our declining grassland species and provides food at all times of the year.

LIST OF NATIVE plants used in the Berries FOR BIRDS Hedgerow

Acer saccharinum, Silver maple
Amelanchier canadensis, Juneberry
Aronia arbutifolia, Red chokeberry
Aronia melanocarpa ‘Nero’, Black chokeberry

Hickories (Carya):
Carya cordiformis, Bitternut hickory
C. laciniosa, Shellbark hickory
C. laciniosa x illinoensis
C. tomentosa, Mockernut hickory

Shrub dogwoods (Cornus):
Cornus alternifolia, Pagoda dogwood
C. amomum, Silky dogwood
C. racemosa, Gray dogwood
C. sericea [alba ssp.stolonifera], Red twig dogwood

Corylus americana, American hazelnut

Crateagus mollis ‘Homestead’, Downy hawthorn

Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’,  Winterberry [Female]

Juniperus virginiana, Eastern red-cedar [Female]

Nyssa sylvatica, Tupelo

Prunus americana, American plum
Prunus serotina, Black cherry
Prunus virginiana ‘Garrington’, Chokecherry

Oaks (Quercus)
Quercus x bebbiana (alba x macrocarpa) ‘Ecos’
Q. x schuettii (bicolor x macrocarpa) ‘Ecos’
Q. bicolor, Swamp white oak
Q. x jackiana (bicolor x alba)
Q. rubra, Red oak

Rhus glabra, Smooth sumac

Rubus spp.

Sambucus canadensis, Elderberry

Thuja occidentalis, Arborvitae

Viburnum cassinoides, Wild raisin
V. dentatum, Arrowwood
V. lentago, Nannyberry
V. nudum, Possum-haw
V. prunifolium, Plumleaf viburnum
V. trilobum, American cranberrybush