Garden Foods to Attract Birds to the North Coast Pacific Garden
What birds eat from a garden habitat is a broad spectrum of foods.
Directly from plants come such fleshy fruits as cherries, holly berries, and
cane fruits like blackberry and raspberry. Nuts, acorns, for example, are
favored by some species, while a vast array of birds seek out seeds of
grasses, annuals, perennials, and some shrubs and trees.
Nectar-producing plants are very popular for attracting hummingbirds and
orioles. Flowers with tubular red corollas are especially attractive to
hummingbirds. Other trees, shrubs, vines and flowers can also provide nectar
Summer-fruiting plants includes plants that produce fruits or berries from
May through August. Among birds that can be attracted in the summer are
brown thrashers, catbirds, robins, thrushes, waxwings, woodpeckers, orioles,
cardinals, towhees and grosbeaks. Examples of summer-fruiting plants are
various species of cherry, chokecherry, honeysuckle, raspberry,
serviceberry, blackberry, blueberry, grape, mulberry, plum and elderberry.
Fall-fruiting plants include shrubs and vines whose fruits are ripe
in the fall. These foods are important both for migratory birds, which build
up fat reserves prior to migration, and as a food source for non-migratory
species that need to enter the winter season in good physical condition.
Fall-fruiting plants include dogwoods, mountain ash, winterberries,
cottoneasters and buffalo berries.
Birds also eat a smorgasbord of
insects and other invertebrates, from earthworms and caterpillars to flies,
aphids, and microscopic mites, which provides important dietary protein to some
species. Some birds consume insects year-round, while virtually all garden
birds forage for them during the demanding breeding season when there are
nestlings to feed. Hawks and owls eat small animals, such as mice.