The Best Trees and Bushes to Attract Birds

Hearing the melodic songs of birds, seeing the bright red of a cardinal, or the quick, dipping flight of a chickadee are the things that make me say, “Yes, it is a good day”. Planting the right bushes and trees in your yard can contribute to attracting birds to your yard, and enhance your mood.



Any type of bushes and trees are better than none. There are four categories of trees and bushes that contribute immensely to attracting birds, and therefore to your enjoyment of birds. Some of the trees and bushes will overlap in the categories. For example, a fruit bearing tree may also provide cover. If in doubt on which types to plant, always choose native plants for best results. Ask your nursery which plants are native to the area. Those trees and shrubs will be the easiest to grow, because they are the same type that has grown in the wild. They do not need as much tending. The trees and bushes need less water, and are already best suited for the soil type. The categories of bushes and trees to plant, whether native or not, are those providing Shelter, Nesting, Food, and Nectar.


Alders, Ash, Azaleas, Bayberries, Berry thickets, Birches, Cedars,

Cotoneasters, Cottonwoods, Crab Apples,

Dogwoods, Elderberries, Firs, Hackberry trees, Hawthorns, Hemlocks, Hollies,

Junipers, Maples, Mulberry trees,

Oaks, Pines Poplars, Rhododendrons, Spruce trees, Suguaro cactus, Sycamores,

Sumacs, Viburnum, Wax Myrtles, Woodbines


Ash trees, Barberry, Beech Trees, Black Gum, Black Haw, Box Elders, Buckthorn,

Burning Bush, Buckeye Shrub,

Cedars, Cherry Laurels, Chokeberries, Coral Bean, Cotoneasters, Crab Apples,

Dogwoods, Russian Olive,

Elderberries, Elms, Fringe Tree, Hackberry, Huckleberries Hawthorns, Highbush

Cranberries, Hollies, Junipers,

Leatherleaf Mahonia, Ligustrums, Magnolias, Mulberry trees, Nandinas, Plum

Trees, Pyracantha, Oaks, Pines Roses

Sassafras, Serviceberry Spicebush, Sumacs, Sweet Gum, Wax Myrtles, Winterberry, Yaupon

NECTAR (do not forget the hummingbirds)

Abelia, Azaleas, Butterfly Bush, Bottlebrush, Coral Tree, Desert Willow, Fire

Spike, Hibiscus, Mimosas, Tulip Trees, Weigelia

You may think of others that work well in your area. Not all of the preceding work in every area, but the lists certainly gives you a good starting point. If you are not sure of what these varieties look like, take this list to your nursery to put the name with what the variety looks like. Also, you will be able to read the needs, and mature sizes of each bush or tree to determine if it will fit into your landscape.

Source for the Lists: Trees and Shrubs for Birds by Christine Tarski

Article By Kathleen Couch who also goes by the pen name of Purple Leaf and has written a variety of articles. She has gained expertise in many areas by having rich and fulfilling life experiences. You may read more of her articles at this site:



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