Plow & Hearth
Pelican Robbies Islamorada

Photo credit: Erika Adelman

Are you pondering what plants, trees and shrubs are best for your yard to attract more birds? Good! We are too! Our hometown is fortunate enough to be a layover point for migrating birds so we are seeing many species right now. Outside our house is a Gumbo Limbo tree FULL of cardinals, woodpeckers, finches, doves and of course, squirrels! Where is that squirrel proof bird feeder?!?

Three miles down the road are the wetlands of the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center so every afternoon hawks, parrots, blue jays, ibis and turkey vultures fly right over our house. What a sight!

However, if I want them to land nearby and hang out, I need to provide the right kind of plant environment right?

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we have multiple choices. They discuss four varieties: deciduous trees, conifer trees, vines, and shrubs.

Recommended Deciduous Trees are Mulberries, Serviceberries, Flowering Dogwood, Crabapples, and White Oak.

Recommended Coniferous Trees are Eastern red cedar and spruces.

Recommended vines are Wild grape and Virginia Creeper.

Recommended shrubs are:

  • Northern bayberry
  • Staghorn sumac
  • Red-osier and Gray dogwoods
  • Nannyberry
  • Winterberry (holly)

You can choose these plants based on the time of year you want them to fruit and/or the types of birds you want to attract.

For example, Mulberries and Serviceberries are the only plants listed that fruit in the summer. This is important to know if you want to offer your avian friends a natural food to eat during the summer. Both trees are attractive nesting spots too.

Some winter fruiting plants are the Virginia Creeper, Northern Bayberry and Winterberry. These three also provide nesting sites and potential cover. (Cover is a very important element to provide in your backyard if you want your avian friends to stick around.)

PS Cornell offers a fun YardMap tool in which you enter your zip code and a list of resources such as native plants, nearby nurseries and locally sighted birds are offered up.

Are you inspired to start planting now?!? I am!

*Fun photo taken by my friend Erika Adelman at Robbie's of Islamorada.