Planting trees and shrubs that produce berries is a fantastic way to create a bird-friendly environment in your backyard. These berries provide birds with a valuable food source and can attract a diverse range of bird species throughout the year.
- Viburnum Species: Viburnums like American Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) and Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) produce clusters of berries that shift from green to shades of red and blue, providing a long-lasting food source for birds.
- Elderberry (Sambucus): Elderberries are a favorite among birds. They not only provide berries but also attract insects, making them doubly appealing to birds. Species like American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and European Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) are popular choices.
- Holly Trees and Shrubs: Holly species like American Holly (Ilex opaca) and Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) produce bright red berries that are iconic winter food sources for birds. The dense foliage also offers shelter.
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier): Also known as Juneberry, Serviceberry produces small, sweet berries in early summer. They are relished by birds like robins and cedar waxwings. The tree’s delicate flowers are a bonus.
- Dogwood (Cornus): Dogwood shrubs and trees, such as Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) and Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), offer berries that are consumed by various bird species. They also provide nesting sites and cover.
- Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana): Despite not being a true cedar, this tree produces blue, berry-like cones that are a crucial winter food source for birds like cedar waxwings and robins.
- Bayberry (Myrica): Bayberry species like Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) have grayish berries that persist into winter. The waxy coating of the berries is an energy-rich treat for birds.
- Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa): This shrub offers dark berries that are high in antioxidants. Birds like thrushes and finches are attracted to these nutrient-packed fruits.
- Juniper (Juniperus): Various juniper species produce bluish berries that provide birds with sustenance during colder months.
- Hawthorn (Crataegus): Hawthorn berries are appreciated by many birds, and the dense branches also offer nesting sites. Species like Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) are suitable choices.
When selecting berry-producing plants, consider choosing a mix of species that offer berries of different colors, sizes, and maturation times. This will ensure a steady food supply for birds year-round and attract a diverse array of avian visitors to your garden.