Best Plants for Attracting Birds in the Northeast

Welcome feathered friends to your backyard with these bird-friendly plants.


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A family of Gray Catbirds squabbles noisily in their nest in a clump of elderberry bushes (Sambucus) out by the road. In the silvery branches of a serviceberry (Amelanchier) near the porch, a small flock of Cedar Waxwings swoops in to grab a few juicy purple berries before moving on to the blueberry bushes (Vaccinium). Chickadees and nuthatches hang from the branches of the tall, white spruce (Picea glauca) windbreak, picking insects from between the needles and prizing seeds from last winter's cones. Robins stuff their beaks with pagoda dogwood berries (Cornus alternifolia) and wild strawberries to feed their fledglings. Out in the garden, a vibrant goldfinch clings to the dried stem of a black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), looking for seeds.

Click here for a tour of a beautiful Northeast garden.

Native plants do more than feed the birds; they're versatile and attractive landscape plants, too. Cornell University offers more bird-friendly tips and plant suggestions at birds.cornell.edu. Ready to take your landscape to the next level? Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Foundation program, nwf.org.

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